After a few weeks of exam talk, let’s talk about something fun instead for this week. (:
As we all know, students often do not see the need to learn English simply because they do not use the language in their everyday lives. To remedy this, I recently took part in a letter-exchange project a friend of mine came up with. The idea is simple enough, as I will explain below, although it does take a bit of coordinating on the teachers’ behalf as well as some monetary sacrifice.
Firstly, look for a teacher friend to partner with. Preferably, this teacher should be from another state or at least, another district. If you have the connections for it, someone from overseas is even better! Then, coordinate with the corresponding teacher in terms of students’ level of proficiency and the number of students on each end. But then again, you will definitely have kids absent on letter-writing day anyways so don’t worry too much about it. As long as the gap between the number of students in both classes is not too big, you should be fine. In any case, my solution to this is to have one kid reply to two or three letters. This might take some pushing (and shoving) on your part though!
Next, decide on whose kids shall start off the letter-writing process. If you are the one starting it off, have your kids write a letter introducing themselves. Collect all the letters and send it to the corresponding teacher (this is where the monetary sacrifice comes in). The corresponding teacher’s students will then reply to those letters and once they are done, the corresponding teacher will send the letters back to you. Once you have gotten the replies, your kids can then reply to those and the process continues.
Essentially, this a letter-exchange project between students but with the teacher as the post office/man. I would however, strongly advise teachers to read through students’ letters (the ones you receive as well as the ones you send out) to ensure that there are no exchange of personal information that can lead to the students making contact out of the classroom. This is to protect both your students as well as yourself from any potentially unpleasant situations in the future.
Now, you may wonder… where is the learning in all of this? The truth is, when I took on this project, my goal is not so much language learning but just to let the students have some fun communicating with the language with real people on real topics.
Sounds easy enough right? Go give it a try with your students and let me know how it goes!