Friday, December 18, 2015

Cultural Exchange with AIESEC Volunteers

I’ve been thinking about how to create a more authentic environment for my students to use the language. Today, two student volunteers from Holland and Australia, Noel and Chelsea, helped a lot with both language practice and cultural exchange. Working in groups, my students did a little presentation about windmills, floating houses, bicycles and the Anne Frank House in Holland.

Last week, my students watched a few videos on You Tube about the Netherlands. I decided that they would do a presentation instead of sitting there and listening to what Noel had to say. Overwhelmed with loads of tasks, I managed to look for relevant information about the topics and came up with the whole script. Also, I told them to memorize their assigned part of the script. Following that, I also asked them to think of some interesting questions for the interview.

Of course, my students’ spoken English still has a lot for improvement. Some of them were just too nervous and got their tongue tied, struggling to look for the right words or phrases to say. However, they tried hard with their imperfect pronunciation and grammar to finish the presentation. They sincerely asked their prepared questions and also thought of some new ones. Often times I had to step in to avoid awkwardness when they ran out of questions.

Noel gave my students his feedback after the presentation. He also explained other purposes of windmills. He was asked to sing the national anthem of the Netherlands. He then shared his experience of living in the float house. He taught us how to say I love you in Dutch as well. Chelsea introduced the differences of the educational system between Taiwan and Australia. She also kindly helped answer some of the students’ questions.

When the class was over, we took a lot of pictures. Meanwhile, for those who were not well enough to participate during the class, I encouraged them to approach the volunteers and say anything they like, so they did. Noel and Chelsea were so busy taking pictures with the students before they finally had to catch the taxi.

Thanks to my fellow member of the English Advisory Group who made this happen, we had fun using English as a tool for communication today. In addition, I would also like to thank my colleagues in the Academic Office for the certificate of appreciation and the lovely souvenir of KuangMing. 

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