I have been doing lots of sharing at workshops and teaching demonstrations at different schools. However, today it was the first time that I shared and displayed some achievements in front of all the ninth graders in the very auditorium of my own school. Based on my perspective of how they responded, I think I did a good job today.
The purpose of this big gathering is to meet the requirement that at least the majority of one graders can be involved in ONE activity. So, I incorporated this event in the curriculum under the framework of the International School Award last semester. Of course, they didn't have to know the rationale behind every Skype exchange session or foreign student volunteer cultural exchange, so the first activity kind of set the theme for my presentation in the hope that they could sit back and relax.
With pictures and video clips, students are able to get a more clear picture of how the Skype exchange was conducted. School Life, Music, Celebrities and the Beauty of Taichung were the four topics to help create a more authentic context for the students to use the language while learning to appreciate cultural differences. On top of that, the example of answering a simple question like "How old are you?" is always a good example of why we should not focus only on the rote memorization of vocabulary and grammar.
Is learning English fun? Is learning English useful? Is it okay to make mistakes? In such a test-driven setting in Taiwan, it would be difficult to answer those three questions. However, with this Skype and cultural exchange project, I really hope the answers are all YES.