Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Taking a first step toward ISA

International School Award of the British Council provides a comprehensive framework that helps schools integrate curriculum based on a global dimension, including international learning and global citizenship. Participants are required to summit action plans and project ideas to be approved by the Education Bureau and BC. Following that, the panel, comprised of at least three teachers in every school, will have to carry out the plans and get the successful results ready for inspection. Then, the school will be recognized by both institutions as a ISA winner. 

I’ve been so fascinated by the idea that being able to communicate is the main purpose when it comes to language learning. Every time when I have to do a presentation at a workshop, it’ll be in English. For a person who learned his English totally here in Taiwan, how is that possible? Well, I have been working on English speaking skills by taking one on one English class online through Skype for many years. Therefore, I would also really like to create such an environment for my students to use the language and communicate with people outside of Taiwan. 

The other reason that really motivates me to apply for this program is that using English to get to know and appreciate other cultures is so captivating to me. Why? I went to Australia for a five-week TESOL program subsidized by the Ministry of Education in 2012. Also, I attended a three-day workshop of Global English in Seoul in 2013. Both experiences really provided such an amazing glimpse of having a deep conversation about English education with teachers outside of Taiwan. As a result, I want my students to have this experience, too. How? By conducting English classes together with a Japanese English teacher whom I met in Seoul, we can create exactly the environment we desire for both Taiwanese and Japanese students to get to know each other and do some cultural exchange. 

I LOVE speaking English. Now I teach three classes a week which allows me to only use English as the medium of instruction. I’m 100% free to decide what I want to teach and how I want to teach it. The head of the academic office told me that I would have her full support for this application of ISA. The Japanese teacher, Akiko, and I share so much in common regarding English teaching and learning. On top of that, my partners from KMJH both have their passion and expertise in their own fields, history and computer science, so this would be an advantage as well. Within one hour, we already came up with so many intriguing activities to engage not only most of the students but school staff. Last but not least, I took a ten-week online English teaching course provided by the Oregon University, which really equipped me sufficiently with lesson planning skills with regard to Project Based Learning. 

After today’s workshop, we did walk away with plenty of nuggets. During the afternoon session, each school developed and organized their project ideas on a poster. Then, I volunteered to come to the front and did a short presentation about what we’re planning to do. The lecturer gave us some food for thought so that we can make our action plan a more complete and achievable one. Today’s workshop is without a doubt very fruitful. 

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