On 8th March 2013, Group 21 of B. Ed TESL students, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia (KPM) twinning program went to Sekolah Menengah Sains Banting Selangor to carry out a program for our course “Teaching of Aural Oral Skills LHE3208”. It is a one-day program for Form 1 and Form 4 students filled with exciting language games and activities prepared for the students. Since there are 59 of us altogether, we were divided into groups of 4 students each and we were also separated to handle the Form 1 and Form 4 students. My group members are Hema and Precintha and we choose Form 4 Hasseb as our class. The other group member, Niwashini unfortunately was absent at that time as she had to be quarantined at home for chicken pox.
We received a warm welcome by the students when we stepped our feet in their class, and we carried out our first activity for the morning session. Each and every one of the facilitators introduced our own name, origin and also our course in UPM to the students. They listened attentively because they were probably excited with our coming to their schools on Saturday morning. Then, we asked the students to stand up and introduced their own name, origin and everybody began to take part in the session. This ice-breaking session is very important as the students can get to know the facilitators closer and vice versa. We spent at about 15 minutes in this session before we moved on to the next activity.
Our first activity was named “Connection Error” where we group the students into 3 lines and they needed to pass various messages to their friends. The groups who had the most correct messages transferred to the end of the line became a winner. This activity requires them to focus on the messages given by the facilitator and make sure they pass the right sentences, or else the message will be distorted. This activity is similar to the game called “Telefon Karat” in Malay as messages tend to be shortened or lengthened as they go through the encoding and decoding process. After about 30 minutes carrying out the activity, the facilitator reveals the right messages to the whole class and also asked the person at the last line to read out their findings. The whole class broke into laughter when they messages get totally drifted from its original meaning and the students learn about the importance of listening carefully for details and preserving the messages as it is.
Next, we had an intermission session for 5 minutes where we asked a representative of the students to sing us a song. This is a kind of a break time for all of us as we do not want to pressure the students with so many things at the same time. We were lucky to have a student singing “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus to us, and the whole class sang along with her. This kind of relaxation activity will help in elevating their affective filter and they will be at ease to continue participating in a lot more activities with us.
Our next activity was named “Project Runway”, which was the highlight of the morning session. This activity requires the students to prepare two costumes complete with the accessories according to the given theme which is fairytale. They will have to elect a leader to present their ideas to the whole class and the facilitators will select the best costume with the best presentation. The students worked in the same groups and they were given old newspapers, scissors and cellophane tape to complete the task in 30 minutes. When the time is up, the facilitators call for group representatives to explain their designs and the function of the costumes and accessories. This activity focuses on the creative and critical thinking skills of the students to elaborate their ideas and to present them to the whole class in confidence and courage. The facilitators invited Neda, who was observing the session to select the winner of this challenge and she also talked to the students about the so many things that can be done with their costumes.
During the afternoon session, we carried out a “Story Telling” session with the students and Neda was also in the class to observe the whole situation. The students worked in the 3 groups and they are given cue cards with words written on them. They need to construct a storyline based on the theme and fairytale given and they need to dramatize their story. The students took at about 20 minutes to prepare their story and discuss with their group members about the acting part. After that, the facilitators call out each group to dramatize their story and points will be given if they managed to use all of words in the cue cards properly in their story. This activity aimed at the student’s ability to act out certain roles assigned to them and to make their story as interesting as possible.
Apart from those activities, we also had “Charades” with the students. They were given specific categories and needed to act out those words in order for their friends to guess them. Among the categories are occupation, celebrities, TV and film title and also verbs. Each and every one of the students was called out to the front to act out the actions and they are very sporting enough to participate. Besides that, we also had a game called “My Hobby” in the afternoon session and the students are required to pose questions to their friends who are called out to the front. This activity promotes the students to ask questions in the correct manner using the usual “Wh- Question” forms.
Towards the end of our session, we had a simple lucky draw session with the students and bid farewell to them. It was quite emotional but we told them that we will be seeing each other in May for another fun debate sessions.