Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 17, 2013

A taste of immersion learning

Kokomo students get hands-on lessons in Costa Rica, England

(Continued)

Every one of them learned something and most will likely be a step ahead of their classmates in Spanish class next year.

“You were basically forced to learn it,” Moody said. “It was the only way you could survive.”

Students in England had a much different experience. There was no language barrier — though people there had their own form of slang.

The culture was different but only slightly.

Kids said families there were much less religious. Most of their host families didn’t go to church.

The food portions were much smaller — a large there is like a small here, the students said.

Kids at Biddick Academy have different classes. There was a skiing course, and students there learn cycling in gym. They also learned three or four different languages, including Polish, the students said.

When the Kokomo group wasn’t at school, they were touring England to learn about its history. Students had class one day in an old schoolhouse with lessons like the ones taught to children in that time period.

Some climbed mountains and toured the York Dungeons.

“They did a good job of learning the history of England,” teacher Julie Canady said. “There were challenges. That was the idea.”

Some students learned they couldn’t afford some of their souvenirs because they didn’t have a favorable exchange rate for the pound, Sargent said.

“They’re learning how to manage money,” he said.

These are all important lessons if they’re going to be doing business around the world one day, he said.

And it will help that they now have contacts in another country who they can easily stay in touch with.

Technology has made that simple. Students are using Skype and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach their new friends.

“It’s a great example of how different our world is today,” Sargent said. “That’s why we have the [International Baccalaureate] program.”

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com

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