Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Duo's English Speaking Journey

The Duo truly made significant progress in terms of English communicative skills with many Skype video calls in the past school year.

Impressed Again
Once again, the duo showed their fluency and quick responses during today's session. It's already three weeks since the last one, but they quickly, compared to students in regular classes, showcased how advanced they are. Throughout the whole forty-minute call, there were few pauses and no awkward silence. On top of that, they were willing to talk around words or expressions they didn't know, which is key to carrying on a conversation.

A Bumpy Start
Looking back on this long journey, I am happy for their improvement. When I first met the Duo, I soon realized they had a big vocabulary and only took a little time to prepare for any written tests to get good grades. However, when it came to speaking, they were slow, shy, and not confident at all, especially in my International Cultural Exchange class.

To make matters worse, I had to scrap the using English as a medium of instruction halfway through the first semester. I asked questions in English, but they would respond in Chinese because they got stuck in finding the words and expressions from time to time.  They cared too much about making mistakes and what others would think of them during Skype sessions with students outside of Taiwan.

A New Chapter Begins
Other than visiting Daegu and then forming a sister school partnership, the best thing that happened last year was to invite Jessica, a Canadian AIESEC volunteer, to come over for three school visits. Many students here loved her sharing and were so motivated to interact and practice speaking English with her. The Duo and I were so lucky to extend this enjoyable learning experience and had plenty of opportunities to have Skype sessions with her even after she went back to Canada.

The Duo's incredible English proficiency allows me to spend just a little time on textbook English. I began using more and more English in class with them, including outside reading and speaking materials. Moreover, I was able to conduct those classes using EMI again because they would participate in our discussion in English, too. Then again, I cannot thank Jessica enough for making time with video calls with the Duo and Alex's Fantastic Four. An authentic English environment would only be a click away. 

Counting Down
With the Duo's graduation drawing near, I already began reminiscing about all the good old things we've been through, including winning second place in the Taichung Junior High English Speech Contest and third place in the English Composition Contest, and creating the VR campus English guide, to name just a few.

Let’s Make It Happen
I just learned there would be an iEARN English presentation contest, featuring Project-based Learning and International Education, on May 25. It requires both the teacher and the students' collaborative efforts to present for six minutes, along with a two-minute Q and A session in English. When I showed them the introduction to the contest, to my surprise, they immediately showed interest. I didn't expect it would be so easy to talk them into signing up for the competition with me.

What else can better top this epic journey with this English presentation contest?  

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