Year 6 pupils exchange letters with the Pope
Learning in real contexts
“The Holy Father Pope Francis thanks you for this gesture of closeness”, was the reply from Pope Francis’ advisor to Gabriela, a Year 6 pupil, to his letter. Like Gabriela, each student in the course sent many other letters to put into practice the Lengua (Spanish) lesson “The formal letter”. The aim of this practice has been experiential learning in a real-life environment, so that the students can touch the impact of their effort beyond the classroom, receiving in their hands the responses of the people they addressed.
The students chose the person they wanted to address, it had to be someone in a position of responsibility. They then came up with a proposal on an issue important to them that would help to improve our society. “Although our aim was to teach the students how to write letters, we wanted to do it in a real environment and we also wanted to make it useful for them to learn from other aspects: thinking about what issues matter to them and how they can improve their surroundings, seemed to us, to complement the class perfectly. And the students aimed high because they sent their proposals for improvement to the President of the Community of Madrid, the Mayor of Madrid, the President of Caritas, and Pope Francis, among others. There was even a daring student who wrote to Putin to ask him to put an end to the war!
The most exciting part of the exercise was witnessing the students receive answers to their letters:
I am pleased to inform you that the Holy Father thanks you for this gesture of closeness, while remembering you in prayer so that the Lord may help you with his grace and that your love for Jesus and for others may grow every day.Monseñor Roberto Campisi (Pope Francis Advisor)
Thank you very much for having thought of me as the recipient of your letter to improve the world. I also want it to improve and I do what I can, in my daily life, to achieve it in the Community of Madrid, which is a very important piece of the world. If we all do our best in the little piece of land we live on, the world will get better and better.-Isabel Díaz Ayuso (President of the Community of Madrid)
First of all, thank you very much for your letter. I was very happy to receive your proposal, because all proposals are welcome and help us to improve.Majo Jimeno (Moms in Action)
You don’t know how excited we are that you remember us and give us ideas to better carry out our work, which is, as you well know, to help the most needy in our society. We would love to meet you personally.Manuel Bretón Romero (Head of Cáritas)
Thank you for your letter, for choosing me for your school project and for your suggestion about the parks in our city.José Luis Martínez Almeida (Mayor of Madrid)
The best thing about learning the subject of Lengua (Spanish) is that it enables us to communicate with each other in order to improve the world together.