In December 2014, two teachers from The British Schools: Natalia Font (English Teacher - Senior) & Ma.Jose Camelo (Form Teacher - Junior), visited the Falkland Islands to learn about their educational programmes. Later in 2015 two teachers from the Falklands Islands will visit The British Schools as part of this Educational Exchange.
The variety of English that the Falkland Islanders use is not surprisingly loaded with many terms borrowed from the Spanish. In particular terms related to the rural environment which suggests that this linguistic cross-fertilisation is an influence of the many gauchos who once lived on the Islands. Some examples include:
Azalaker/azulejo; Bajho/bayo; Apergatos/alpargatas; Arroshure/arroyo; Camp/campo; Bicho instead of bug, boca instead of mouth of a river; Chay/Che; galpon/galpón
Landscape and Lifestyle
The weather is very relevant for the Islanders, especially for the farmers who raise cattle. The temperatures are low and it is cold for most part of the year. Most of the time it is very windy and because of this there are few trees on the Islands and the landscape is barren and moor-like.
The main export iswool as the land is not particularly good for agricultural use. Due to the climate most of the vegetables are imported. As a consequence, these are very expensive. For example 1 cucumber is £3.20 approx $130!
The Islanders are sometimes nicknamed the Kelpers because of the abundance of kelp (a type of seaweed of considerable size). However, this is not considered a derogatory term as some might think.
There is one primary school in Port Stanley which has approximately 300 students.
For the children that live in the “Camp” there are 4 settlement schools with an average of 5 students in each school.
Children that live on the more remote farms have travelling teachers and telephone teachers. These students stay at home and work on a six week cycle. They receive telephone lessons each day for four out of the six weeks and the other two weeks the travelling teacher lives with their family and works with them.
The students follow the British programme and are inspected by professionals who fly over from England. The lessons are subject-based and children from Form 1are grouped by levels in English, Maths and Reading.
The learning objectives are always clear and visible to the students who are involved in their own learning and made aware of their achievements and next steps in learning.
All the primary school teachers use two colours to correct: pink for achievements and green for things to improve. Many correct by writing two stars (achievements) and a wish (things to improve). They all use the same disciplinary method in which they give the child who is misbehaving a card that says “stop, think, change”. If the child continues misbehaving he/she will lose 5, 10, 15, etc. minutes from their weekly 30 minute Golden Time (fun time).
The class teachers teach every subject except for Spanish which was formally introduced in 2013.
Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard and projector for daily use, around four computers for the students, and one computer for the teacher.
There is also a computing room for all the class to go at the same time.
The internet connection is not very good so teachers need to have a plan B if they are planning to use internet for a lesson.
Special Needs: “The Base”
The school has catered for special needs since approximately 2008. Before that, children with special difficulties were sent to England with one of their parents.
There are currently 2 children with cerebral palsy who spend their school day in this room with specialised teachers. There are also other children with special needs who have a one to one teacher and go to “Thee Base” at specificed times.
There is something similar to Learning Support which they call “Intervention Lessons”. Some teachers take groups of 5 or 6 children once or twice a week for a short period of time and give them support in Maths, English or whatever they need.
There is no repetition in this school, if a child is not able to cope with the expected academic level, he/she receives extra support at school or a one to one teacher.
According to the British system, secondary education is compulsory, but post-16 or A levels are not compulsory. The only option for the Islanders is to come to school in Port Stanley. There is a boarding school to cater for children who come from far away, Stanley House. There are approximately 150 students at the school and 20 teachers.
When the students finish their GCSEs, the UK Government offers them the chance to go to pursue their studies in the UK, where they can enroll in a collage to study A levels or vocational courses. Although this is, of course, a great opportunity, many students suffer greatly from the distance that separates them from their home. They travel in military planes and they come home approximately once a year. Many of them continue studying at the university and never return to the Islands.
Natalia Font (English Teacher - Senior) & Ma.Jose Camelo (Form Teacher - Junior)