CEU's Human RightS Initiative has kicked off several programs meant to assist local students in improving their English-language skills, increase their social sensitivity, and prepare for higher education.
On March 12, the first session of the English Coaching Program (ECP) was held at the Miklos Zrinyi Elementary School in Budapest's 20th district. Colleen Sharkey and Ildiko Rull from CEU's Communications Office visited the school's English-Language Club and worked with about 25 kids to strengthen basic English vocabulary and speaking skills. The pair used a series of interactive games to engage the students. Similar sessions will be held on a weekly basis until the end of April as all available slots have already been filled by enthusiastic students, faculty and staff members.
"I really enjoyed my first visit to a Hungarian classroom. The kids were enthusiastic and especially loved the exercises we did with music,” said Colleen Sharkey, CEU international media relations manager. “I think the pairing of a native English speaker and native Hungarian speaker is crucial as many of the kids participated in the learning exercises but needed some assistance in their mother tongue."
Social Sensitivity Training (SST) began on March 20 at the same school for 8th graders with the first session covering questions related to identity. As part of the project, volunteers lead small groups of 8-11 students and discuss basic questions about where elements of our identity originate from, how we view ourselves as well as others, and how simplification and generalization can lead to societal problems. A short manual is used containing questions and some ideas related to the topic but several games are also used to make each session more engaging.
HRSI is also pleased to announce that several CEU students will also be visiting Anyos Jedlik Secondary School on a regular basis, with the first session already held on March 18. This target group is a bit older. Volunteers will be holding presentations related to their respective fields of studies and chat with 10th and 11th graders about questions of academic orientation, the university experience and general interests, providing kids the opportunity to talk with native English speakers.