Archive for the ‘Leeds Beckett 2015’ Category

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – An emotional farewell to the schools, students and families for our volunteer team!


Last week (2)

We woke up Thursday morning faced with the prospect of our final day saying goodbye to the schools! First up we went to Nalawa Central to say out emotional goodbyes. They put on a fantastic morning for us. They presented us with our garlands first, then went into speeches and a very emotional song. A great way to start to the day, and they provided nice refreshments for us too!

We then went on to Vunikavikaloa School, where they had a similar plan to Central school. I personally got given 3 garlands which is a new record! Both the team and the school made some speeches thanking each other for the efforts made over the last few weeks. I got up to say a few words where I wanted to specifically highlighte the contributions of a Class 7 boy named Seru to my House Cup team, where he was exceedingly enthusiastic in his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody!

Last week (3)

Finally on to Dobuilevu Muslim School, this one was highly anticipated as a rumour was going round that they were producing a Lovo lunch for us. The rumour was true and they produced a fantastic lunch which was a strong contender for the group meal of the project! Brilliant food and a brilliant effort once again from the school, and after some speeches, ‘thank yous’ and goodbyes, a dance off seemed to break out amongst the school and team. It was an amazing send off from the schools, as we really got the sense we truly made a difference to the children of the school and even the teachers.

As we made our way back to the village for the final time it started to dawn on us that it was the final night. A sense of sadness but also of pride; pride because we came as individuals but have left as a family.

Last week (10)

The night began with our final church service. It was an opportunity for the community to say thanks. There were a few speeches, prayers and lot of singing. It was also an opportunity for the group to thank the village. Three of our team spoke on the behalf of us; Jack, Jess and Abbie. Each of us voicing our memories and thanking people on behalf of the whole group. Emotional, funny and well written, they were all great speeches.  Following the speeches we sang a hymn of our own and then to close off we all got in a line and each member of the village shook our hands saying thanks and goodbye.

The night ended with a meal in the community hall, a last chance to dine Fijian style. As always the food was awesome. After this was complete, the plates went away, it was our chance to perform our ‘Meke’ for the village. Meke is a traditional Fijian dance, and we had been learning it every night over the last week. The villagers went crazy for it, and cheered us through as we finally had the chance to show them our take on a part of their culture. After this the speakers and Grog bowl came out and we danced and sang the night away with the people we now call our family.

A great night to end a marvellous trip…bed at 4:30 and up again at 6, but that’s another story!

By Chris

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – ‘My Fijian family have been a great influence on my life and I honestly feel that I have learnt so much more than I could have ever imagined!’


Last week (21)

Words don’t begin to describe how enjoyable and just how simply incredible the family day was. I feel like this amazing day was just the cherry on top of the most amazing project. An experience of a lifetime indeed! Prior to this day it was unreal to come to realise actually how little I knew about my family, where before I thought that our relationship as a family could not possible be stronger. I was wrong.

The day started with a long walk with my sister Asinate to the farm to visit my father whilst he was at work cutting the sugar cane, the long walk in itself taught me an incredible amount which I had absent knowledge of in respect to my sister and family, but it didn’t stop there. She really widened my eyes about the village life also. It clearly shows that even after 5 weeks in the village there was still more to learn.

My main highlight of the day was being at the farm with my sister, father and other relatives. I was such a proud son to see my father working and grafting so hard in such extreme heat, it was amazing to see. It wasn’t long however before I grabbed the machete off the old man to show them all how it was done… I was slightly embarrassed to have the machete taken off me only ten minutes later whilst I was crawling on the floor gasping for air. For a 64 year old man he has some stamina!

For me, the family day really was one of the highlights of the whole trip. It was hard to put into words just how incredible this project was. My family have been a great influence on my life and I honestly feel that I have learnt so much more than I could have ever imagined about myself and on a general outlook on life, and for that I thank them. I just hope that I personally returned the favour. It goes without saying that I will definitely miss my family, I just hope our paths cross again in the future.

by Tom

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – Quiz Battle, Bilo Making, ‘Lads & Ladies’ Night, Kids Games, Fun Day and Caves & Waterfall Excursion!


Funday (2)

Our second to last week in the village has truly flown by! It all started on Monday night with another fantastic quiz. Finally my team won thanks to getting full points in the talent round. We produced and performed a song with the highlights so far. On Tuesday night, it was the infamous lads and ladies night with the last of the grog to follow. The usual groggers were the last ones up until we got kicked out of the village hall to allow the elders to retire to bed, we were feeling pretty groggy!

On Wednesday night we learnt how to make Bilo’s, which are the cups you drink kava from. This was great fun which also made us a cracking souvenir to take home. Thursday was kids games night which was good fun and all the village kids got involved which was great. As we all came to the end of the very fun and hectic week, there was only one way for us to spend it, movie night! It was great as the villagers joined us to watch American Sniper.

Activitties cave

We had been planning all week for Saturday, as it was the village fun day! All the village came out for the mornings fundraiser. This is where we teamed up and came up with different stalls such as face painting, cake and juice, fruit machine, coconut shy, soak a volunteer (turned into soak the leaders too!) and a clothes raffle. The most popular stall was the clothes raffle, whilst myself and Tom watched on while getting water balloons thrown at us! My friend Cameron Dawson kindly donated one of his Sheffield Wednesday match day shirts which gained a lot of interest from the village boys in guessing how many counters were in a tub to be in for the win.

Saturday afternoon came with a buzz of excitement as we were off to the Limestone Caves and Waterfall! The cave was absolutely brilliant as it was so untouched and naturally beautiful. The tour guide also provided some great laughs. We then went on to the waterfall which was stunning and I also conquered a fear of heights by jumping from the top of the waterfall into the pool below were the whole team were cheering me on. It looked just like the music video of Peter Andre “Mysterious Girl”! I can’t wait for our last week of fun in the schools and village before we say goodbye on Friday.

By Chris

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – ‘This week has without a doubt been our favourite week of teaching!’


Schools DMS (3)

Dobuilevu Muslim Primary School

This week has without a doubt been our favourite week of teaching. Monday got off to a smooth start, which was somewhat of a surprise. We were given a tarp and our focus group of slow learners by 9am, and in the hot Fijian sun we had one amazing classroom. We began every morning with an hour and a half off English, followed after recess by a Maths lesson that took the same amount of time.

In English we focused on the story of ‘The Three Ugly Witches’. This lent itself really well to what we wanted to do in our teaching. We started with high frequency words – the children first had to identify the words and then smell them. We then introduced words which were specific to the text ‘ugly’, ‘witches’, ‘potion’ and ‘magic’ – this helped build the children up to be able to read the story. This was a great success and all the children were able to read the story. To show they understood it we did some drama which they really enjoyed; playing the role of the witches and mixing up potions. The week of literacy finished with the children dressing up as witches after learning the colours and making a potion by using paint and water balloons; quite an aesthetic potion with the colours of pink, yellow, orange and green all mixed together. It’s certainly one of my highlights of the trip.

For Maths we were learning 3 digit subtraction. It was slow to start but they all completed the worksheet we gave them successfully. The rest of the week we focused on multiplication, which again we used a special worksheet of colouring in to help. At the start they were just colouring in random boxes. However, we taught them, by using pencils, to work out their multiplication by putting them into groups of the number they were multiplying them by, and then counting out how many pencils in total there were, then colouring in the corresponding box.

This week has been one of the best weeks here. We are both so ready to go into our last week and finish on a high!

By Imogen and Kirsten

House cup VPS (3)

Nalawa Central Primary School

Our final full week of teaching was upon us, and this time I was teaching the slow learners in Class 3. They were really well behaved, (well behaved for a group in Class 3 anyway), and were great to teach. I love these kids! We spent most of our time doing maths lessons, focusing on the 6,7, and 8 times tables and also doing some addition method pretty quickly and actually managed really well!

Some progress was also made in regards to learning and remembering their times tables – which also boosted their understanding of how multiplication works. During the week I also did several English lessons. The first involved writing a story about themselves, an activity they like to do. They thoroughly enjoyed doing this and some of the older classes even came in and joined in.

For the last English lesson, Liv and I took the kids onto the field and taught them some tricky phonic sounds using word cards, and also taught some basic grammar such as what is a vowel, and what is a noun. The group participated really well and after much patience from Liv and I they did grasp the concept. Sadly, learning about adjectives proved to be a step too far, but it was still an incredible week, the class were brilliant and I was so sad to say goodbye.

by Rachel

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – ‘Animals’ & ‘My Family’ themes in the Nausori Village & Nalawa Central ECE Centres!


Kindi - Nausori  (4)

Nausori Village ECE – by Jody, Tom & Ryan

The theme we chose for Kindi was ‘Animals’. For our learning time we prepared pictures of animals such as lions, snakes, pigs and monkeys, etc. When we presented the cards to the children we got them to repeat the name of the animal and taught them a sound/action that belonged to that animal. The children really enjoyed making the sounds of the animals, particularly lion and tiger sounds! They picked this up fairly quickly and got better at identifying the animals in English as the week progressed. Towards the end of the week we introduced, ‘My favourite animal is…….’ into our circle time and in learning time we spoke about where each animal lived in order to keep the children engaged in the theme.

Arts and Crafts were something that the children enjoyed the most. Throughout the week we made animals masks, handprint butterflies and lions, and we painted the children’s faces like tigers. We also did an Animal Treasure Hunt which was chaotic but a lot of fun. To reinforce good behaviour, stickers were handed out for those who behaved in song time, circle time, story time, learning time, and best in tooth brush time. It was good to see this intrigued the children and got them behaving more than they had been. With painted Tiger faces all roaring it was truly a vision to behold when we said goodbye on Friday!

Kindi - Central (6)

Nalawa Central Kindi – by Liv, Chris, Erinn & Immogen

The theme for Central Kindi this week was ‘My Family’. We initially introduced key words related to family such as ‘Mother’, ‘Father’, ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister’. We used visual representations and sang songs to reinforce these words as the children’s English is very basic. As the week progressed we added more words to their vocabulary with ‘Auntie’, ‘Uncle’ and ‘Cousin’, as well as talking about Grandparents.

We first told them what the word was in Fijian then in English to ensure the language barrier wouldn’t be too much of an issue. We used Arts and Crafts to further reinforce this key vocab throughout the week, with each child making a chain family to represent their own. Then we took them on a nature walk where we spoke about our families, wildlife and their families, and any family we saw walk past.

The children grew in confidence throughout the week both in their application of vocab and general ability in their use of English. In ‘Circle Time’, a time where we get the children to say something in very basic English, they went from being prompted to say their name on Monday to answering questions like ‘What’s your favourite colour?’ on Friday on their own. That is something you can truly call success!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – Sports Development Update; ‘It has given me great pleasure to be a part of improving the lives and minds of the youth out here!’


Sports - Vunikavikaloa (8)

Vunikavikaloa Primary

The nickname we have given the school of ‘Madhouse’ is never more fitting than when during sports. It was a great challenge of teaching sport but an exciting adventure. The sport I taught with Sarah was Volleyball. The very first day was a challenge teaching the Class 1 and 2s who understood very little English so teaching the specific moves of ‘digging’ and ‘setting’ was perhaps beyond them. So instead we played some smaller more active and loose games such as flipping cones and relay races, before putting in a monster effort that proudly resulted in some being able to just about dig the ball by the end of the lesson.

As we went through the week we made the sessions slightly more challenging with more sport specific coaching being involved dependent on whether they would be able to get it. It is fair to say our sessions improved as the week too as we both felt more comfortable with coaching Volleyball. The older children who still hadn’t ever played the sport properly were able to learn the right moves with the correct technique very quickly. This was brilliant as it meant we were able to move on to game situations and everyone’s competitive nature quickly came out.

For me this was the week I realised how important Think Pacific is within Fiji. It has given me great pleasure to be a part of improving the lives and minds of the youth out here. Hopefully next week will show similar success as this one; I already cannot wait to move on to the next school with a whole new experience.

By Tom

Sports - Central (6)

Nalawa Central Primary School

After a day spent chasing the Kindi kids back into the classroom, sport came as somewhat of a welcome ‘rest’. That idea was quickly removed when ‘rest’ soon became taking Class 1 for sport. The sun was out again which helped develop our already impressive vest and t-shirt tans.

On the Wednesday myself and Nick (mainly Nick) coached the rugby team as a warm up for a match they would play on Friday. We quickly found out that Fijian junior rugby is much more similar to English boxing than English rugby. There is still some pleasure in running rings around 12 year olds until you get flattened by three of them. The children throughout our time coaching sport were so positive and enthusiastic, sometimes this would go overboard, but their attitudes were fantastic.

When Friday came it was an exciting day as we played the Central’s local rivals of Nasau Primary School, the home of another Think Pacific team, at both Rugby and Netball. After coaching them throughout the week it was great to see the kids be able to channel their skills into a match. We were all very proud as the Netball team produced somewhat of a clinic, comfortably defeating the opposition. Rugby was a much closer affair. After taking the lead Central were one try down with a few minutes to go. With some major hits, and questionable positioning, Central were able to score at the death to force the draw. To see everyone together cheering on the kids, with TP on both sides, Friday was one of the most magical days so far!

By Chris

Sports - Vunikavikaloa (3)

Dobuilevu Muslim PrimarySchool

The sports coached this week were Volleyball, Rugby and Cricket.

With volleyball, a net was put up and Max and Ryan worked on getting the ball over the net and then into a rally. They did this by simply standing in front of the kids, throwing the ball, and the kids playing the ball back into their arms with as great accuracy as possible. It was essential to start basic due to the varying levels of proficiency. Luckily, with some good coaching by the end of the session everyone could easily clear the net, and small short rallies occurred.

With rugby, it truly depended on what age Jack and Lauren were given. The older ones showed a true aptitude to the game, which hardly comes as a surprise given the nations love for it. Therefore, after simple passing and tackling drills, they were put into game situations which were good to see. With the younger ones it was much simpler. Small passing was all they could manage; otherwise the sessions just consisted of chasing Jack, and or the ball. Perhaps not the most structured of sessions but certainly some of the most enjoyable.

Georgina and Jess pulled the lucky, or the unlucky straw, depending how you feel and had the young ones for most days. Like with Rugby they were content with races, chasing and general chaos. They worked on small throwing and catching drills for both over arm and under arm throwing, however, they saw it safest to save the bats for the older ones. Again it was at this level they could play Kwick-Cricket which took up all of Friday’s session before our TP team stepped in to play their own, very sub-standard game.

By Lauren