Marist Football Club
English lo Solo
English Lo Solo grew from a simple idea of Mrs Schmeling wanting to use her skills and experience as a teacher to help a handful of her husband’s Football players who have never been to school. Once she opened this door to the small group of five, she soon discovered that many more wanted to learn and improve themselves. Wanting to learn more about the local people here she began one to one discussions with over 30 Football players, listening to their stories and learning about their lives. From there Mrs Schmeling understood just how much she could help. She formed three groups, beginners, intermediate and advanced level and her classes began.
Since Mrs Schmeling began her English classes in February 2017 she has been searching for ways to overcome their challenge of limited resources they have in Solomon Islands. This is where the iPad initiative came from. Mrs Schmeling thought if she could find a way to get some iPads then her students could have access to a library online via the Kindle app and a personalized literacy program through the Reading Eggs app. She borrowed an iPad from her kind neighbor and it has proven to be very successful! Mrs Schmeling can see more learning pathways with the iPads like using Word, learning how to send and receive emails and using Grammar apps. The hope is that they can get more iPad donations.
Mrs Schmeling believes her classes will make a difference to her student’s lives because they are learning how to read and write English. Solomon Islands school Curriculum is in English so she believes the project is giving her students a second chance at learning and is building on their education. Others are improving their English to communicate better and are passing down what they are learning to their children. Schmeling states that "All of her students have the desire to learn and want to improve themselves for their families." She explains, “This is a very important first step towards making change.”
Her intensions go further by promoting how important school is and hoping her work can help change the minds of the next generation. The last initiative to accompany English Lo Solo is Marist FC’s “School First” project. Please visit the “School First” project by clicking on its tab on the Marist FC website.
Mrs Gemma Schmeling has a Bachelor Degree in Education and has been a teacher in New Zealand, China and Australia. She moved to Solomon Islands in 2015 and is currently studying a Diploma in English as a Second Language (TESOL).