Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

International Projects

by AJ

Ive been very pleased with the "Project" and "Blog" assignments Im using with my BAS students. They are both progressing very well.

Next semester, I plan to try a cooperative project with a teacher at Ubon University. Its a great idea. Project Teams would be comprised of members from both our classes. Team members will communicate via blogs, email, chats, and phone calls (Skype, cell phones, whatever).

Its an intriguing idea... but I think the intrigue and power could be increased exponentially with one small addition: go international!

Instead of teams made up of students from different THAI universities... how about teams comprised of students of universities from different countries? Thus, each project team might include a collection of Thai and Japanese students. Or Thai, Japanese, Korean, and Brazilian students.

There are many benefits to this approach. The big one is that English becomes NECESSARY and DESIRABLE. For Thai students to communicate with Japanese students.. most (the vast majority) will need to use English. As the variety of nationalities increases.. so too does the necessity of English.

The next big benefit.... relevancy. Isnt this why students are cajoled to study English... because its the "international language". Because it opens international opportunities (trade, jobs, scientific, artistic, social, romantic, etc.).

Its one thing to say "English will help you connect with the rest of the world"... its much more powerful to put it in action... "This semester you WILL connect with people in other parts of the world. You will work on a project together... and your grade will depend on your ability to communicate and work with people from another country".

Another (possible) payoff: This has the potential to be self-sustaining. Some students might develop friendships that will continue after the semester ends. And how will they continue to communicate with each other? By using English, of course. Now they've developed a PERSONAL reason to continue learning (or to at least maintain what they already know).