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Editor’s message Life goes on Interview with Rosie Quin Using Technology to Enhance Learning Hope Parenting During pandemic Mental Health & Wellbeing Paintings Paintings In Quest of Calmness in Nature Peace For Humanity
CONTRIBUTORS Editor Maryam Pedramfar Designer Shilva H
Maryam Pedramfar Maryam Pedramfar Khabat Malarsheed Razieh Sarafraz Lili Sandra Nshangalume Khabat Malarsheed Maryam Ahmadisalman Juliane Andraus
Razieh Sarafraz Lili
Martha Campbell Melissa Grbin
Welcome to the 32nd Edition of ESOL Oasis magazine. On behalf of the Oasis team, we are so happy to present this issue to you. We hope that you find it enjoyable and helpful. In this issue, we decided to have a deeper insight into the current situation with different types of work. With the variety of age range and nationality, we tried to bring those frames of mind into the poems, stories, articles, interview and paintings. We hope that this issue would be interesting and also encourage our readers to think and reflect on their outlook. As everyone is going through hard times with being apart from their loved ones, may our stories can bring us closer to each other and that our readers feel something that they can relate to. Also, it is important to highlight that this magazine is done thanks to everyone in our team with such an effort and endeavour. Finally, we would love to thank our readers, who are the reason for every step of this magazine. I wish all our readers the best in the New Year.
Life Goes On On that dreadful morning, something felt different. I opened my eyes after a long night and saw, my best friend, Earth, is restless. What is wrong? I asked. She stayed quiet, Looked at me with red puffy eyes. I had never seen the Earth hopeless like this. I thought something might have happened. I looked around to see if any of the stars are around. There was no one, no Mimi, no Maryam no Elizabeth and no Baako. Her sky was pitch black and I wondered why everything is so quiet but not so peaceful. Earth stayed quiet for days.
Her beautiful face was grey. I had to do something, she is my friend. I stepped out of my ecliptic circle and wanted to get closer to the earth. Hey, moon, stop there don’t go closer, Venus
If you go closer you will get ill. Earth is sick
and she is getting worse every day.
I was shocked and I couldn’t take my eyes off the Earth. My friend is sick and I can’t do anything for her and that made me sad very sad. Even though there is always a gap between us but that this time I felt it is wider and even if I spread my arms as much as I could, she is alone and too far, very far to reach. ESOL Oasis - Page 1
If you get close to her she might burn. Venus said with a sad face. But I’m her moon, how can I leave her by herself? I’m the moon of her sky. I said sobbingly. I had never thought something like this could ever happen to her. She didn’t deserve it. People of the earth were leaving the street and they all had to close the doors on themselves. The joy and happiness were fading away from the cities. This was far beyond my imagination. Her pain is hurting me and I am desperate to save the Earth. Moon, looked closely, too nervous to notice that the sun is still shining over the dismal sky of the Earth. But she saw people of the Earth were sharing their stories, they started to sing from their tiny windows altogether to give hope to each other. They felt all but as one to save themselves. Earth had never been alone, she had the most beautiful and loving people in her, to share love and support with one another. As long as the sun is shining then there is hope, and the Earth is the prettiest planet like a blue diamond. She always overcomes her problems, said the Moon quietly to herself. Earth, do you know how pretty your being is? I asked.
Life Goes On She looked at me and smiled.
You are so beautiful with your lovely human.
That’s right, the sky, our sky, is not black neither blue, but It’s full of everything that gleams a bright light. People of the
“People of the Earth are shining brightly in their homes, they are like twinkling stars.”
The next day I talked to my loved ones on Earth: No matter how far we are from each other, nothing has been changed between us, you are my Earthly life and I will move around you every day brighter, much brighter, even in a crescent, you have the most beautiful planet, it is my flower and the blue ship of my day and night.
Earth are shining brightly in their homes, they are like twinkling stars.
Perhaps that is why nights are so beautiful, because, no matter what, the people of Earth shine because they are precious, they are the core of life. Maryam Pedramfar ESOL Advanced
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Rosie Quin Could you please introduce yourself to our readers? My name’s Rosie and I’ve been an ESOL teacher at the College for 16 years. Before that, I was an English teacher in Rome, Italy for 8 years. Whenever I get the chance I always go back to visit my friends in Italy. I miss the sunshine a lot! My favourite levels to teach are Literacy and Beginner, but this year I’m also teaching an UIW class, and I’m really enjoying the new challenge. I love cooking, cats and singing – notice how important a comma is in that sentence! I don’t like cooking cats!
How worried you were about your students when the first lockdown happened in March 2020 and what did you find difficult in the case of online teaching? ESOL Oasis - Page 3
I found the first few weeks of lockdown pretty stressful as everything happened so quickly. I managed to set up WhatsApp and Facebook groups with most of my students, which kept us all connected at a difficult time. The most important thing was to make sure everyone was OK and no one was feeling isolated or scared. I felt it was important to maintain the sense of community we all had in College. I saw my role more as a friend than a teacher, to be honest. Online teaching is very different from being in the classroom, but I was always honest with my students and told them everything was new and scary for me too, I think that helped us all learn together. It was an adventure, and I had some wonderful students who supported me too when I was feeling sad and worried. I’ve learnt more from them than they have from me I think!
Can you tell us about your students during Online learning and how do they feel? Students were pretty amazing at adapting to the classes online, but I think most of them still miss coming into College and connecting with others face to face. It’s been pretty tough with lower levels but thinks about a year ago – students and teachers have all learned so much and that’s such a brilliant achievement in such a short time. I’m really proud of my students and my colleagues. I think we’ve tried to make the best of a challenging situation.
What about teaching problems?
The advice you can give to your students?
The main issue was connecting with students who didn’t have devices or laptops. I felt very sad and sometimes angry about that. The main issue has been encouraging students to become more autonomous in their learning and not to think that the Zoom class is their only way of learning. As the weeks go on, I think a lot of students now get this and see Zoom as a way of practising language they’ve seen in videos or read about beforehand. I find splitting my classes into smaller groups the best way to connect with everyone as teaching more than 10 students online is tough.
Be kind to yourself! You’ve all achieved so much in your lives already and this year has just shown you how resilient you are! On days that you feel sad or low, do something nice for yourself – go outside, watch a film or funny videos on YouTube! As for learning English, try to get yourself organised, use a vocabulary notebook and review your work every week. Also – don’t think learning grammar rules is the key to improving your English, read and watch as much English as you can, increase your vocabulary and don’t be afraid of making mistakes!
How can you describe your dream? My dream? Well, mostly I want everyone that I care about to be as happy and healthy as they can be! Apart from that, one day I’d like to have a little house by the sea in Italy. I’d go swimming every morning, shop at the local market for delicious food and have parties every evening with all my friends. Oh, and I’d also like a cat!
Thank you very much Rosie for your kindness to write back to us and give us your perspective as a teacher. Khabat Malarsheed ESOL National 5
Jessie Rosie’s cat ESOL Oasis - Page 4
Using Technology to Enhance Learning In my view, e-learning is a useful opportunity in this situation when we cannot use face-to-face educational methods. In fact, online learning is the only way of continuing education. Previously, I could not use technology for studying, but when I figured out that it can be helpful, then, I worked my socks off to learn it, because I could not go back to the college for several months. Fortunately, nowadays I can use technology effectively to learn English in different ways, for instance, Zoom, apps, learning websites, YouTube, Instagram, podcasts, BBC Learning English and Telegram. Furthermore, I can use them easily now. At one time I did not have any selfconfidence about using technology, but nowadays, I can even use it to solve some of my challenges, such as booking appointments, applying for benefits on the council website. ESOL Oasis - Page 5
I know that there are some apps for translating that will be useful but they are not a suitable alternative to our brain. I consider that people need to learn another language, depending on their job. From my standpoint, in the future, most jobs will use technology instead of traditional ways, so one of the conducive aspects of online learning is that it is superior to conventional methods, because we need to know about computer knowledge. In the future, there will be many more sophisticated technologies. In my opinion, all of us should try to use technology to increase our knowledge. I have a more positive outlook to technology now. Painting and article: Razieh Sarafraz ESOL National 5
Hope Growth of seed in dead frozen ground, a trace of light through a window into the heart of darkness, the birth of a chick after a hard struggle, all starts with a little hope. Seed cracks the soil to reach the light. The bright light that shines through the window is the hope for loved ones to find their way back home. The travellers start their journey hoping to see the bright light from their homes at the end of the road. The chick struggles to crack the egg and start a life and we took steps, hope to make a better future. Where can one find hope? Anywhere, even through the worst and toughest moments of life. Last year was full of grief, sorrow, death and separation. Hard moments that we never forget. Many people passed away because of COVID-19 and some committed suicide due to mental damages, but once again there was hope in these dark bitter days. This time hope shined from the hands’ of scientists and researchers.
A lot of people get together to make this pale hope, work nonstop and round the clock without disappointment to find a way to rescue and finally, on December, 8th, 2020, hopes raised again for millions of desperate, helpless and exhausted people. The first vaccine injected. The heart of millions delighted with joy and hope arrived again for the people of the blue plant. Now we can think of a bright future, good days, meeting loved ones and hugging all those we missed. There is a long way ahead but that does not matter. This can light all the dark way. We will reach our destination. We can find hope everywhere in our lives, even in cold rainy days, the warmth of this hope keeps us alive. The day that we find hope again, would become a history for humanity. Even those who lost a dear were delighted by the vaccine news as they know they can be hopeful to see the rest of their loved ones live. Finally, I want to ask you to never get disappointed. The darkest moment of a night is always before dawn. Believe and have faith that there is hope, in your heart, in your coffee, in your darlings smile and even in a street lamp. Look more precisely, maybe this time hope shine through your hand! Lili - ESOL National 5 ESOL Oasis - Page 6
Parenting During Pandemic While the whole family are staying at home in the same space every day with no activity to do outside And then with the closure of the playgrounds, School, cinemas and theatre, everything seems so overwhelming. Parents losing their jobs, many rules have changed and the pressure parents have to endure is all so difficult. On the other hand, it is not easy to explain the whole situation to your children. Some parents have given birth during the pandemic and some parents with children in the hospital have experienced massive Parenting has always been hard but tension and difficulty. The financial it’s harder with the pandemic, the struggles can be more stressful for Covid-19 have taken all the joy and parents when they don’t know if you happiness we could have without the can make ends meet. pandemic, studying online and work from home and run the household Parents and children mental health with children around and also trying is in danger due to their struggles to keep our kids on track with their and hopeless effort for money and school works is tough enough for us to wellbeing. feel anxious With school closure and financial problems. Covid-19 have During the Pandemic it was hard for made parenting much harder than parents to control their emotions as normal. many of them have found it hard dealing with this new lifestyle. Parenting during the pandemic has been so hard for many of us, as some Managing the children behaviour of the students are also parents and especially when they are fully stuck this year the “COVID-19” pandemic at home is tough. has upended everyone’s life around the world. Social distancing and Having the thought of them playing being cut off from the moral support outside and getting sick or carry the of your loved ones has been so virus back home all the time is so challenging. tiring.
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The coronavirus pandemic has turned parents to be home teachers, added to all of their responsibilities, as well as making sure to not give their kids more stress. This might be the hardest moment of our lives but by going easy on our children and ourselves, we can help to reduce our stress level. With all these difficulties some parents have children in the hospital - an unlucky parent like me. I have a preterm sick baby in this situation and this is the hardest moment of my life that I have to leave my baby for months in the “NICU” in the hospital, with the tear in my eyes and being worried all the time, such a horrible feeling. Experiencing such pain feels like living in a bad dream which you want to wake up as soon as possible. Seeing your child born preterm in the incubator and the oxygen being administered, with the help of a ventilator to breathe and all the cables it so scary and regardless of everything, they are fighting to survive, those little heroes.
This was just a small part of what I’ve experienced during the pandemic, such a bad start for your child. In general, our children rely on us as parents for their peace and safety we need to take care of our health, both physically and mentally. During this hard time, we have to reassure our children that we are strong enough to beat every problem and struggles that we are facing and keep them happy no matter how hard life is with the current circumstances. Have a positive mindset to help your family to be happy and optimistic, that you can overcome all the fear and the pressure you and your family going through. With hope, we all can do this. Sandra Linda Nshangalume ESOL National 5
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Mental health and wellbeing in pandemic You are not alone.
Nowadays, coronavirus COVID 19 has become a real danger for health, most of us spend a lot of time at home, following social distancing, which can make people feel isolated and lonely and can cause incredible stress and anxiety. Don’t worry you are not alone. Everyone is feeling the same.
Be optimistic about your health and new challenges. Try to improve your health by making sure that you are responding to your wider health needs as well as having a moderated diet. Try to eat more vegetables and fruits and less fatty foods. This helps you to build a healthy lifestyle. You can manage your diet by eating a moderate amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grain [bread, pasta, rice, etc]and extra virgin olive oil. It is a good idea to include nuts, seeds, dairy, herbs and spices in your daily diet routine.
Maybe you have been feeling incredibly sad, angry or anxious. Maybe you spend a lot of time thinking about the future. Maybe you’re eating and sleeping way more or way less than you’re normally doing or you can’t find enjoyment in things you used to. In other words, a pandemic can be stressful for people. Anxiety and the thought of knowing nothing about the close future can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions for adults and children. How to respond to your stress during a pandemic is so important. Here some tips that help you to feel better and to improve your wellbeing:
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Stay active: Think about how you can exercise at home by watching some YouTube videos and try to find your comfortable way. You can also walk in the park for one hour, or practise some yoga. If you are interested in dancing, it is always a good idea to dance at home with your favourite songs. After your exercise, take a deep breath slowly from your nose and let it out from your mouth. Meditation and self-awareness are so beneficial to your mental health.
Be kind to yourself:
Have a me-time:
Be kind to yourself and others try to Keep in touch with family and friends. Even if you should stay home but there are other ways to keep in touch with your loved ones. Just pick up the phone and arrange a dinner date by video call or have a morning group call with your friends. Send them your voice message to see what are they up to and share your problems with them. There are lots of ways to communicate with people around you so you can help them and yourself to not feel alone.
If you are stressed you should try to monitor your negative thoughts, the feeling of having a control of your brain can make you relaxed and concentrated on yourself. Learn new skills it leads you to boost your self-confidence and to improve your self-esteem. Even if you feel like you don’t have enough time, or may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.
Ask for help: If you’re unsure or worried about something, It is always alright for you to ask for help and talk to your parents, friends or someone you can trust. talk about how you feel and share it with your loved ones.
Have some fun: You could play a few games with your friends online, watch comedy shows and listen to good music it changes your mood.
Your mental health has an impact on how you think, feel and behave in your daily life. Come up with a good plan and take care of your body and learn how to deal with your stress Little by little. Khabat Malarasheed ESOL National 5
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Razieh Sarafraz ESOL Oasis - Page 12
In quest of calmness in Nature
At the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, many different types of social media posts and most news encourage us to stay safe and relax at home. While people may be trapped in their homes, life goes on, birds are singing and flowers are blossoming, which are very attractive for us to hear and see. Our interest in these signs of life comes from the almost instinctive belief that contact with nature is good for our mental and physical health and many sources have confirmed this.
through your senses, and allow yourself to be there instead of just having a destination to get there. Mountains, hills, forests, lochs and seasides have especial rich environments for doing these activities because they offer specific health benefits. In addition, the experiences of being in nature are different for each individual and from one experience to another. Nature may give some people a sense of general well-being, relaxation and calmness, others may find that it helps with specific physical or mental health issues. For some, it can bring a deeply transformative experience.
The idea which states being in “nature is good for our health” has a long history in cultures around the world. It demonstrated that being in nature might reveal new perspectives on our lives. Buddha who lived about 2500 To sum up, although the new situation years ago, found enlightenment through has led to our confinement in our meditating under a tree. homes, by the presence in outdoor even for a short time, we can cope with this In the line with nature’s connection, difficult time and restore our vitality. there are many ways to be involved in nature. It is obvious that spending Maryam Ahmadisalman time in nature has significant benefits. ESOL Advanced Try to immerse yourself in a natural environment, such as parks, forests, hills, etc, consider how it is experienced ESOL Oasis - Page 13
PEACE FOR HUMANITY We are living in an increasingly weird world. A world where people are in self-isolation, not only by coronavirus but many other things contribute to people not relating to each other. A few years ago, people were talking by phone, chats, emails, Facebook, Instagram, and many other types of communication platforms. In general, all these things are physically pushing people away from each other, and unfortunately, there is no longer any human warmth and no longer many faces to face talking.
Currently, relationships have worsened due to the tragic pandemic of Covid-19. The strict rules of self-isolation to prevent the growth of the virus and the fear amongst people of death, makes the world stop. People were for a long time inside their houses and consequently, there was only one option left: “The Internet”. A lot of people started working in their makeshift home offices, children now have their birthday parties online, Internet shopping has broken its sales records, and many other events have changed our lives.
We cannot forget, that on the other hand, since when the Internet began to exist, many people reconnected, approached even virtually. This is the bright side of technology. But what does all this have to do with peace for humanity? In my opinion, everything. The way people relate to each other is a direct consequence of the way we live and how the world works. Who has never heard the phrase “kindness generates kindness”? In my family, my husband and I are always teaching our children that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We know that in physics it is the power of action and reaction, that is, if you give love you receive love, if you give affection you get affection if you give loyalty you get loyalty. The opposite is also true, if you give silence you get silence, if you give a bad mood you get a bad mood, and so on. In conclusion, if we want peace for humanity, each one of us must be in a mutual friendship with each other, there must be mutual love, there must be mutual affection. Our approach to people must always be with good feelings and good intentions. That is how we are going to have a better world. Juliane Andraus
ESOL National 5
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