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Keyslor Calderon: And so the Student Becomes the Teacher

For students, the normal school routine resumed on the 5th of February. Students from ages 5-17 returned to the classroom for their regularly scheduled classes: science, math, Spanish literature, and more. Twenty-two year old Keyslor Calderon also returned to the classroom, not to learn, but rather to teach. Starting in 2018, the Nicaraguan government has added English language classes to the traditional list of classes in primary schools across the country. Keyslor, a student and former translator at Enlace Project, has the pleasure of being the first to teach English in two primary schools in El Sauce. He teaches around 6 classes, each class with around 30-40 six year olds. These will be the first students to receive English language classes throughout their entire education here in El Sauce.

This is not Keyslor’s first time in the front of the classroom, however. He has taught English classes every Saturday at Sauce Adventuras, a local tourism cooperative that also offers English classes to children. There he teaches English for three hours to children between the ages of 8 and 12. According to him, “The most difficult thing is to keep the attention of the children the entire time. After 10 minutes they sometimes lose concentration”. However, as he transitions to teaching even younger children, he has learned new methods of teaching that are more engaging and tailored to interactive learning. “The classes are full of fun activities to keep the kids engaged, so they will learn English while they play games”. The students have started learning traditional every day English phrases like “hello” and “what is your name?”. Though these phrases seem basic and simple to native English speakers, these children are creating the foundation for future English learning in high school. Step by step, the children will develop their vocabulary through elementary school and into high school. Keyslor will only speak in English in these classes due to the young age of the students and their ability to learn languages quickly without translation.

Keyslor himself has been a determined learner, taking every opportunity he can to speak in English with anyone. He has been studying English with Enlace Project for 4 years and spent the previous year working as a translator. Within English classes here at Enlace Project, Keyslor has proved himself a teacher to his fellow peers as well. He helps his fellow classmates whenever he can, especially those in the first level classes. Keyslor will continue attending English classes here to advance his own English. This means that most of his weekdays will be spent interacting in English. He says this opportunity to further develop his English and communication skills because he needs to learn more English in order to answer the questions that the children will have. Beyond his knowledge of English, Keyslor also has a degree in social work. He hopes to someday be able to combine his skills to use both English and social work in an NGO that seeks to help families.

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