Sunday, December 30, 2007

Using English in a Game to Seek Nuclear Disarmament

Can a game teach students English and world history? Most ESL teachers know that the best way to engage their students in English is to give them a task which forces them to think in English. Here is a link to an activity which can be used as a warm-up or follow-up to engage advanced level students in a discussion of World Politics and History. On the page where you find the game, check out the Reading section in the right column which refers to the 'Conflict Map.' From there, you can get to additional texts on 20th century wars, the history of the Nobel Prize, and briefs about Nobel Peace Prize Laureates .

Unfortunately, the topic of world politics is one that usually elicits blank expressions or frowns in many of my students. Most of my young adult European students do not have (and admit to never having had) an interest in world history or affairs. Incredibly, many of them do not even follow the daily news while they're studying English here in the USA. I suppose that puts them on a par with many of our young Americans. Nevertheless, with the Primary and Presidential elections around the corner, I have high hopes that this game will pique their interest.

Anyway, I'm excited about it as I believe part of my role as an ESL teacher is to light a fire in students' minds using English to broaden their horizon. All of my advanced ESL students have the advantage of being bilingual or multi-lingual. They really have the communicative power to make a difference in the world if they ever decide to take their skills seriously. (The above link will take you to the "Peace Doves Game" at the site which was brought to my attention at Larry Ferlazzo's excellent resource site.)

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