“It is daytime. Everyone open your eyes. Unfortunately, the werewolf committed evil last night. Another villager was killed, but the witch was indifferent and did nothing…” Werewolf was one of the activities in the 2016 Fall English Festival. Distinct from formal English classes, students needed to use English and facial expressions to hunt for the werewolves. By playing the game, students learned daily vocabulary and expressions without realizing it.
The goal of the English Festival was to stimulate students’ interest and confidence in speaking English and to encourage them to apply what they have learned in class to real life scenarios. In order to do this, the English Festival activities incorporated popular elements close to young people’s everyday lives such as latte art, T-shirt painting, sushi making and drawstring bags. Sherry, a student in FAH who is interested in manual artwork, participated in the Drawstring Bag Workshop. She never expected she could learn English in this way. During the workshop, students communicated with the tutor in English and followed step-by-step instructions. Both parties had much fun and laughter. Throughout the workshop, Sherry practiced common English vocabulary related to sewing such as flatiron, needle and stitch.
Allen, a student from FSS who also participated in the Drawstring Bag Workshop, had different ideas. His participation was derived mainly from his interest in interactive English activities. Creating a drawstring bag was a new experience for him. Allen said, “This kind of activity is relaxing and fun. We can not only learn new language knowledge in English, but can also be acquainted with household skills to which we seldom have access in our daily study.”
All the English Festival tutors combined their personal hobbies and students’ interests to organize creative and entertaining activities. In an interview about the festival, one of the tutors, English Language Teaching Assistant (ELTA) Fish Zhang, mentioned that “students usually pay much attention to academic English and neglect the English which is used in real life and daily work. Therefore, we facilitate these activities and hope that students can master some English expressions that are used in our daily lives.” ELTA Cindy Lei noted that students have learned a lot of vocabulary, but they cannot always apply them when needed. The English Festival activities gave students engaging and fun opportunities to practice their English language skills in context.
Source: UM Reporters (English translated by FAH-ELC ETAs)