I like to include artistic activities according to the students’ interests during their stay”
Rana J Rodger, 58, has lived in Cazals in Tarnet-Garonne for 20 years. She hosts adults in her home to help them learn English.
Istarted hosting with Host in France and also now have my own website to do it privately. When students arrive I tell them we’ll only be speaking English. I encourage them to keep a journal each evening and then the next day we’ll go through it and I’ll correct any mistakes. They read it aloud and we work on pronunciation.
During their stay I like to include artistic activities according to their interests. One thing everyone loves is making collages out of English words and pictures – a little like a ‘dream board’ about what they’d like to do or achieve. I work in lots of different media so if someone has a particular interest in a particular form of art, I can usually accommodate it. Chocolate making
always goes down well too! I find that the more people are enjoying the activities, the more they learn. Usually they’ll have a notebook to write down any words they don’t understand and we’ll go through that each day too. We’ll also visit local villages, markets and châteaux – there’s lots to see in the area.
I don’t have formal teaching qualifications but I do have lots of experience. I don’t offer lessons as standard but people can pay extra for lessons if they like – sometimes students will have around five or 10 hours a week. I love watching their language skills develop over the week. I once hosted five teenagers but I don’t think I’d do that again! I enjoy having adults here for the interesting conversation. Usually it will be just one person at a time which works well as they don’t get to speak any French at all – I am careful not to have French visitors while they’re here!
The age of the students ranges from teens to early 30s. I’ve got one lady coming for a return visit soon – her English teacher at school told her she was rubbish and she lost her confidence. It was lovely watching her blossom and be able to talk about more and more subjects, rather than being limited to boring topics like the weather. I meet some very interesting people and it’s very rewarding.”
Student Amélie is ready to enjoy a meal with Rana