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Become an English village for a day

November 30, 2007

Hello again,

I recently read about what sounds like a great idea in Taiwan (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6992823.stm). Taiwan now has an English language...

... village where Taiwanese children go twice a week for English immersion classes. The Happy English Village has themed classrooms: a bank, a hotel, an airport waiting room and a coffee bar, etc. This idea of non-profit organization, the King Car Education Foundation, seems to me something that schools could imitate.

It could be a one-off project for a day or a regular event. I envisage each classroom turning itself into a specific location: those mentioned above, for example, but also, say, post office, railway station booking office, and even a typical family home where daily routines are enacted. It would also be good to include fun places, such as gym, dance studio and cinema. Students could be assigned roles either as visitors to each location with specific tasks to carry out or as those in situ with jobs to do.

The planning of the event could be done by the students and they could even draw up an imaginary village plan with all the places marked around a village square. The managing of the student traffic would have to be carefully co-ordinated but ideally each student would have an itinerary to follow with tasks to complete. Each classroom could have two distinct areas: a preparation/debrief area and an enactment area. As each group enters, a teacher prepares them for the tasks; these are carried out and then the teacher gives feedback; peer feedback could be included.

I am always impressed by ideas that get students up and doing things with English rather sitting in a classroom. This sounds like a lot of fun as well as a practical learning opportunity.

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