All started when I first met with Cany Ash at the Caravanserai in Canning Town, we were talking about the community project and she asked me if it could be possible to have an Spanish workshop on site in order to give local people the opportunity to learn new languages and I said “Yes, why not?”. Since that day the Spanish workshop is been growing, bringing people to the caravanserai with great success, and the classes keep on running every week despite of the weather!
I have to explain that this is not a normal Spanish class, we called it workshop, but this is something that works like schools in ancient times, in a large outdoors space, under the shade of a big tree, with all the students around it. At the Caravanserai instead of using a centenary tree we do it around the cube, and depending on the weather conditions we move from sun to shade or even inside.
The workshop is open to everyone at any time, providing people the opportunity to do what they want when they want, for that reason the atmosphere is more relax and open, this way students are more likely to learn.
Talking about the students, I have to say that they are the reason for me to come here, specially when I see how they enjoy it and learn so much without even thinking that they are doing it, and I am very proud of them all.
The school has also become a meeting point open to all community members, a place where people come to learn new languages. With students from all ages, from 4 to 70 because there is no age discrimination to learn, everyone has their own space in the workshop, the young ones usually helping out and showing off their skills to their parents, and the adults trying to remember what they already know and learning a bit more to be used maybe in a holiday abroad.
The main aim of the workshop is to encourage students to gain confidence when approaching a foreign language, help them to remember and practice what they already know, and have fun while improving their skills.
I also want to talk about the students gratitude, sometimes with a simple thanks, other times they trade with their own art work, or making delicious homemade cakes and soups. They just want to be part of this community exchange project, it is just an incredible experience…
To all of them, Thanks!