Middle School students who receive English as an Additional Language (EAL) support shouldn’t be surprised if their new EAL teacher understands some Korean or Arabic. Keen to put herself in a language learners’ shoes, Cindy Pacholik has a habit of watching Korean and Egyptian dramas - but with the subtitles turned off!
Cindy’s unique hobby has also helped her build relationships with her students. She said, “By watching Korean and Egyptian dramas (and many others), I feel I've really been able to tap into social language codes and connect to diverse aspects of everyday culture. Chatting with students about pop culture (dramas, music) from their home countries or in their home languages has been a great way to connect.”
Cindy joined UNIS Hanoi back in August after spending three years in Dalian, China. She was offered the job on Friday the 13th - a date many Westerners believe is unlucky. But for Cindy, it was a sign of good fortune. She explained, “I was appointed pre-COVID-19. My original plan was to simply relocate from China to Vietnam, not knowing this would prove to be incredibly difficult in 2020. I was amazed by how many faculty members from UNIS Hanoi reached out to me at the onset of COVID. I was even invited to relocate to Hanoi, offered a shared workspace, and invited to get to know the community prior to the borders to Vietnam closing in March. Now that I’m here, I’ve found that UNIS Hanoi is not only a school that aligns with my principles and beliefs, but it is also a community that is truly committed to supporting and growing one another.”
At present, Cindy supports over 20 middle school students with their English language development. She says that the Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a great fit for students who speak English as an additional language; this is because Language Acquisition is a requirement of the programme and not an “add on”. The combination of English Language Acquisition classes and EAL support classes at UNIS Hanoi, Cindy says, provides EAL students with opportunities to grow within the discipline, take risks, and become more independent and confident with the English language.
Five Fun Facts
We asked Ms Pacholik to share five fun facts about herself. Here’s what she said:
I spent eight years working for the police department in my hometown of Saskatoon
I believe that music exists everywhere and in everything
During my last year in China, I began to learn guǎngchǎng wǔ, or plaza dancing
I love photography, especially capturing shots of intricate doors
I’m a bit addicted to watching dramas in other languages