English for Mission
Since before 1997 Claretian Missionaries from around the world have been coming to The Towers to improve their English for use in future missionary activities and also to experience the culture of our country.
Some 42 students from 15 different countries have taken advantage of the facilities offered. They have come from Europe, Africa, India, Indonesia, Central and South America.
In the past 2 years alone we have welcomed 16 students, mainly as a result of the Claretians decision to use only Spanish and English in their international meetings.
Our small group would welcome support from parishioners in this vital and rewarding work. Listed here are the current activities in which we are involved. You do not need to be a teacher to contribute.
Students usually come for about a month between Easter and September, though we could welcome them also during the year.
Our Mission Statement
- A welcoming group to provide an introduction to the UK and to the Parish of Buckden/St. Neots
- English language tuition, appropriate to need
- Preparation for the liturgy in English and scripture reading
- Library of books, magazines, audio tapes, videos, DVDs and newspapers
- Visits to places of interest
- Visits to parishioners’ homes and an experience of daily life in the UK.
How the Programme Works
Teaching English: Experienced teachers will help decide, from a variety of text books available in the library, which are the most appropriate for the individual student. At these sessions student and teacher work at improving English grammar and pronunciation following a text book or other suitable teaching materials.
Training will be given if needed. Teachers usually commit to one day a week so that the students benefit from a range of styles.
Hours of study: Monday to Friday 10.00 – 12.00
A Teacher’s View
The most interesting aspect of working with the students was the cultural differences between other parts of the world and England. The varied use of our language, words sounding the same but with different meanings, our customs, manners, etiquette and even our forms of worship, etc. The English sense of humour, our ability to laugh at ourselves, seeing humour in almost any situation. Many students found this strange.
Another important role was to take them on local visits as well as to our homes. One African priest was amazed at the abundance of wild life and lush green vegetation.
One problem most students had was pronunciation as well as shyness in front of us. This had to be dealt with care and sensitivity.
I met some interesting and hardworking students and have made very special friends amongst them. On a personal level, I have also learnt a great deal from them.
This is the most flexible part of the programme. Teachers aim to help each student by identifying their own interests e.g. preparing for Mass, scripture readings, etc.
Hours of operation:
Monday to Friday 14.00 to 16.00
We are inviting people to come and share their own interests such as:
• their careers
• arts and crafts
• history of The Towers
• TV and film
• Visits to local towns
Places of interest visited by previous students include:
• Ely Cathedral
• Woburn Abbey
• Burleigh House
As part of our mission statement we want students to experience the culture of the country, so in addition to visiting a variety of places of interest we would welcome as much participation by parishioners as possible in the programme. This is particularly important in the evenings and at weekends when there are no formal activities.
Students could benefit by experiencing family life in the Parish, such as sharing a meal or joining in a family celebration or taking them on a visit to places of interest.