Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Canadian AIESEC Volunteer's Visit

This afternoon, lots of students got to experience what it was like to use English and talk with a native speaker, the Canadian AIESEC volunteer, Jessica. During recess, Jessica was even surrounded by many who were really shy but summoned their courage to practice very basic English or ask for a picture with her. Two of my colleagues liked the idea of inviting her over again for their students. I myself have always enjoyed cross-cultural communication in English so much, not to mention seizing the chance to practice as much as I can by showing her around the Martial Art Compound and the Yizhong Street after school. 

Three Classes with Different English Levels
Jessica kindly prepared a Prezi presentation, complete with a Kahoot challenge, to introduce her school life back in Canada. Due to my homeroom students’ very limited vocabulary and a lack of background knowledge, they had some difficulty understanding the details, but they managed to pick up the main idea from the context. As for my two gifted students, the most valuable lesson that Jessica, who majors in Communications, gave them was how to carry on a conversation by repeatedly asking follow-up questions. She also encouraged these two girls to keep polishing their English skills and make friends. For those seventh graders in the International Cultural Exchange class, the original plan was for them to give a campus tour in English, but I decided to also have them interact more with Jessica in the classroom.  

Positive Feedback from the Students
My students left many positive comments in their journals, but the most impressed one was definitely this: “Time really flew by. This class ended so soon. Thank you for constantly transforming our attitude towards English. I used to think English meant very little to me, but I changed my mind when I met Mr. Li. Engish is not just a subject to study for the tests. I was quite impressed with the Skype exchange sessions and those international volunteers. It would be such a pity if we can’t experience any of those when we become ninth graders.” A lot more comments were mostly about how beautiful and adorable Jessica is, with some complaining a bit about how they didn't have enough time to practice their dancing and guitar performances on such short notice.

Why can't we?
Not only the director of the academic affairs of Chung Chyuan but many other teachers, including myself, agreed that we were so lucky to have Jessica. Though speaking English with a foreigner is quite intimidating for most students, she has such a charming personality and lovely smiles that overcame the language barrier. "Why can't we also apply for this program?", my colleagues asked. Well, that's exactly the idea. If I can involve more teachers as well as students in my school, they will help make a lot of things happen to truly live up to the reputation as an International School Award winner.

The principal, director, and the host family teacher would all like Jessica to go back home with full happy memories of her six-week stay here in Taiwan. They embraced the idea that she should explore as much as possible, so her second visit to my school would be definitely welcomed. No wonder Taiwanese people have been enjoying the world-wide reputation of being so friendly and hospitable. Also, I'm truly happy for students of Chung Chyuan can benefit from this exchange program.

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