Saturday 10 December 2016

Grind school responds to student 'panic' by Snapchatting exam tips during strike

Published 27/10/2016 | 10:31

Students at Essential French
Students at Essential French

With 735 secondary schools closed across Ireland today, a grind school in Cork has decided to do a Snapchat takeover to ensure students still have a productive day.

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Natasha Lynch, a French grind school teacher at the Essential French language school, says when the strikes were announced, students were messaging her in a state of panic.

In response, Natasha has organised for some of her former students to post Snapchat tutorials all day.

Students who received high marks in the various Leaving Cert subjects will be sharing their tips on how to approach the exams in June.

Natasha Lynch
Natasha Lynch

“A few weeks ago, when the strikes were announced, kids were messaging us about advice and were in a complete state of panic about the days they will be losing and I thought, what can I do to help,” Natasha told Independent.ie.

“A few hours at this kind of support makes such a difference to the students. Last night I was being inundated with messages telling me how helpful the tutorials are.”

With over 5,000 students subscribed to the account, Natasha feels like she is really making a difference.

“The kids are on their phones half the day and we have to reach out to them.

“We were one of the first schools to get snapchat. It is important to do things outside the box and engage with the kids and keep up with trends. A few years ago it was Facebook, then Twitter and Vine, and now it is Snapchat,” she said.

The tutorials are far from boring, with the snapchatters having alter-egos and availing of some of the entertaining filters, while using French vocabulary along the way.

“Madame Menton is after getting the hair and manicure done for this takeover,” she laughed.

“It’s actually such voyeurism. Sometimes the students message me admiring the pictures on my wall in the background, it’s mad.”

She admits it’s not all fun and games though, with the ultimate goal being to educate students in an interactive way.

The grind teacher says she spends 30-40 hours a week on snapchat, between researching content to teach and organising the tutorials.

“I would research the people kids are watching and figure out what appeals to them. We deliberately make a point of not focusing on themes, as students may not have covered certain topics, so we look at the different study tools they can use,” she said.

The school was established in 1996 as part of a Masters in Entrepreneurship from University College Cork – and Natasha admits they try to lead the way with innovative teaching.

“We are constantly looking at ways to make learning more fun and interactive. I'm getting a lot of feedback from younger French teachers loving what we're doing and sharing it with students,” she said.

To follow the tutorials during your day off, add them under the username “essentialfrench”.

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