Monday, June 25, 2018

Skype Exchange Session: School Campus and Korean Food

For the last activity for the International Cultural Exchange this semester, we had a Skype session with a middle school in Seoul. Taiwanese students’ topic was to introduce the school campus, and their counterparts talked about Korean food. After these presentations, we asked each other some follow-up questions, complete with two songs in our first languages.

Though the final exam is coming, my students still managed to prepare for their presentations about six spots of the campus, including the main gate, the principal’s office, the basketball court, the library, the lab, and the toilets. Also, the two gifted students shared what they learned from various projects in our class, such as making English-speaking videos, Skype exchange sessions, interacting with AIESEC volunteers, and so on.

On the other hand, the Korean students' main topic was food, including traditional Korean food, street foods, and desserts. There are many Korean restaurants in Taichung, so most of my students can immediately recognize kimchi, jjigae, and tteok-bokki though we don’t necessarily know how to pronounce it in Korean.

One of the follow-up questions was who is your favorite K-pop star. We seemed to have an expert in this area. She shared her favorite idol group, singer, and song, and that made her click with many of the Korean students right away. Also, when Sharen asked a question right in front of the webcam, I could hear “Pretty” several times.

The audio quality was not so good that we sometimes couldn’t make out what was said. Most students from both sides didn’t know how to raise their voice. They tended to mumble or murmured. Also, most of them were just reading their scripts, which made it even more difficult to comprehend. To make it worse, some students from both parties talked at the same time while the presenter was speaking. The microphone would just pick up whatever sound.

The solution? Well, being able to be heard would be the number one priority for the students. I’ll have to keep emphasizing that next semester. Moreover, by splitting the class into two groups and placing them in two classrooms, we can run a test Skype session and see how their very low voice is getting in the way. They will learn a lot more from hands-on experience about the importance of raising their voice and not just reading their scripts.

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