Tuesday, March 6, 2012

ᶠᶤᶯᵅᶩᵉ ♟ Back to Square One

Summarizing everything from the beginning, until now, in a single reflection. :)

Reflection of Language Activities : All In One

Some people have a mindset to hate English their entire life. This mindset is caused by their own feeling that English is not important to be acquired, and there is no fun and joy in learning it. However, what people not realize today that, there's magic behind this language. It may seem awkward, but that's the truth. In order to acquire English proficiency, a learner has to feel the joy in it first before discovering the "magic" behind it. To search for the "magic", language activities are invented for learners to acquire the proficiency of language in a fun way.

First, dialogue is the basic in acquiring the proficiency in English. Understanding dialogues is a way to learn on how to speak with other people in a proper way. We presented a dialogue session about the fight between two customers and an employee in a cafe, regarding on whose mother scores the best as beauty queens. One main weakness we found in our dialogue is the heavy use of slang to help emphasize the joke. Due to the dialogue is highly influenced with the Internet meme of a Filipino beauty pageant participant, who speaks English in a heavy Tagalog accent, some of the dialogues did not follow the proper English.

Second, is the mime, or in other words, a non-verbal communication. We chose to create a short clip, "The Duel", which focused around a playboy, who tries to flirt girls around him, and a tough guy, who despises the playboy who is trying too grab his chances. Eventually, this leads to a boxing duel between those two, and funny chain of events happens as the match goes by. Despite the effective use of sound effects and cinematography, the recycled idea, which uses props closely similar to another group's clip, causes a thumb-down on our mime. Plus, we realized that it's much into a silent comedy instead of showing the communication purpose of the mime.

Short mime: "The Duel"

Third, is the tongue twister, which is effective to practice the pronunciation skill. We are given three tongue twisters to practice. The first one:

If you can't can any candy can,
how many candy cans can a candy canner can,
if he can can candy cans ?

At first, we have troubles on the intonation of the tongue twister. Since it's a tongue twister which is in a form of question, thus, the last part should be spoken in a questioning tone. We screwed up many times at the final part, as we tend to say tongue twisters in a plain intonation. Moving on to the second tongue twister:

A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose!

This tongue twister doesn't bring much trouble compared to the first one. This tongue twister focused more on the pronunciation of words starting with "b". Some people may stuck at "bit" and "big", as they sound almost the same. The third tongue twister is:

Did Dick Pickens prick his pinkie pickling cheap cling peaches in an inch of Pinch or framing his famed French finch photos?

This tongue twister was not been presented in the class, but I took the initiative to practice it. I realise that there is a difficulty in pronouncing the ending of some words in a faster pace, especially words ending with "s", as we tend to miss the letter.

Fourth, is a worksheet of sentence analysis, in the form of tree diagram. I used the method of multiple-choice answers for the worksheet. Despite the structure of the question is similar with the others, however, the multiple-choice answers are not as easy as we think. Confusion can happen when we cannot determine at which level a particular level is no longer considered a phrase (Choosing between "V" and "VP"). Despite making the answer seem too obvious, but this method of worksheet is to test the students either a particular part of sentence is still considered a phrase, or already broken down into a single word.

Sample worksheet

Lastly, the creation of language games. Life is not fun without games, right? Thus, language games are created to provide the fun, and evaluate our proficiency of English. Our group decided to create a game, known as "Word Scramble". The rules of the game include:

  1. Seven letters will be shown on the screen.
  2. Using the provided seven letters, create as many words as you can, at least 3 letters, and at most 7 letters within a time limit of 2 minutes.
  3. One group will be made up of four people.
  4. Each of the letters may be only used once per word. For example, if there are 2 “A”s among the seven letters, the word must use either one or two “A”s.
  5. After 2 minutes are up, the full list of words will be shown.
  6. In order to advance to the next round, the group must achieve the goal of number of words need to be created.
  7. Any group who fails to achieve the number of words required will be eliminated from the game.
  8. If no one passes the round, the winner will be declared according to: (1) the team who created the most words (2) the team who manage to form the longest word (7 letters, then 6 letters, 5 letters, …)
  9. If there are any words created being unlisted on the list, it will be accepted if the word exists in the dictionary.

Example of a finished round in "Word Scramble"

Some weaknesses can be found in the game. Limited words are shown on the screen, causing the words which are not on the list has to be re-checked before a score is given. Plus, letters "S" are banned from the game, as players may tend to create words with an extra "S" to cheat the score, as "S" is the main key to turn a word from singular to plural. That also goes to when "E" and "D" going together, which are the main keys to create past tense sentences, ending with "-ed".

Throughout the whole activity, it can be seen that these activities more or less, helped us to improve our proficiency in English. Without even realizing, collaborative efforts between we and our lecturer, Madam Ira Sandhu helped making these activities a blast. Developing creativity, is one of the hidden goals while we created all these. Creating something unique than the other groups is a way to make variations of a specific activity. This can be applied in teaching, where different teaching strategies are required in order to create a living and fun experience in learning.

Apart from that, the incentive that the lecturer gave to the groups with the best performance is an encouragement for all of us to do the best. Despite never winning any of the incentives, but all that matters in the little "competition", is all the fun we put in each activity we conducted, and the joy to learn English, not just as a normal lesson, but also a daily application.

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