Visiting Lecturer Treats Students to Theatrical Activity
A group of Wittenborg Foundation Year students had the opportunity to participate in a fun and interactive activity conducted by visiting lecturer Patrick Birdsall during a class taught by Wittenborg Head of the English Department Daniel O’Connell. The group performed a short comic play titled “The Bank Robbery”, in which O’Connell played a robber and the students played the other characters. The sketch was created in the 1970s by the “English Teaching Theatre", a group of teachers from London who used to travel to different countries to perform at schools and universities.
With a background in English language and literature, as well as drama and art, Birdsall, who lives in England, currently works as a teacher of English as a second language. He had collaborated with O’Connell in previous occasions, by bringing groups of international students to Apeldoorn so that they could practise English with Wittenborg students.
According to Birdsall, students who are learning other languages can benefit from informal activities, particularly those that involve drama and acting. “If you are in an international setting, having a good level of English is crucial for you to achieve your professional goals. By taking part in plays, students have the opportunity to develop their confidence and practise their pronunciation, vocabulary and other elements of speech that will be so important to them,” he said.
O’Connell, who has been teaching at Wittenborg since 2004 (17 years), pointed out that the activity also had the goal of introducing students to other styles of teaching. “Apart from helping the students improve their English and training them for the IELTS exams, I am also preparing them, mentally and psychologically, for the challenges that higher education entails. So, at times, it is good to have an activity that is more relaxed, with a lecturer as easy going and friendly as Patrick.”
The two lecturers have worked together on a number of occasions, for instance at RSG N.O.-Veluwe, a secondary school in the town of Epe, near Apeldoorn, where Birdsall is also a visiting teacher. There they took part as judges in an English-speaking competition. The students who participated in this activity were required to give presentations in English, and the two winners will represent RSG N.O.-Veluwe at a national level competition.
Patrick Birdsall is the father of Wittenborg's President Peter Birdsall, and has been involved with the university of applied sciences since 2003, helping teach the very first group of international students at the business school, who came from China and Vietnam in that year.
Wittenborg's international classes were started in 2003, when the school was still located in Deventer, where it had been established in 1987. Only in 2008, when the management of Wittenborg was taken over by the current owners, did Wittenborg start to become the all-English speaking and international business school it is today.
In 2022 Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences will celebrate its 35th anniversary!
by Ulisses Sawczuk and James Wittenborg