Monday, April 1, 2013

Pen Pal Project V.2

Almost 2 years ago, I initiated a pen pal program for my Year 5 students with a classroom in Florida, USA. The response was overwhelming. Even though their English was not so good, they managed to communicate effectively in English with their American pen pals and I believe it had been a memorable experience for all of them. The only drawback is that snail mail communication was too slow and costly. Last year, I did not do any pen pal project because the classes that I taught were unsuitable. They were too young (Year 3) and the only Year 4 class that I taught was not ready for the project.

This year, I am planning another pen pal project with my 4 Jujur kids. We already have students from 2 countries interested to collaborate with us. One is Sweden and another is Mozambique. I am not yet sure how we are going to go about with our friends from Mozambique or how many of them are interested in participating. My colleague from Sweden, however, has as many as 70 students for the project. This means that each of my students might need to be paired with two pen pals. We will be communicating mostly via emails but once in a while we could use snail mail as well. It'll be interesting!

We are writing to our Swedish pen pals this week, so I am bringing a globe to class tomorrow and teach the kids all I know about Sweden, and then teach them how to write a letter. I hope I can spark their curiosity and instill patriotism as they will need to write good things about Malaysia in their first letter to their pen pal. They will be learning for a specific purpose, they will hopefully acquire some skills which they might need later in life. I hope, ultimately, these kids will grow up becoming Malaysians who not only score A's in exams but also able to use English effectively and confidently for real life purposes. I think that is why we teach English in the first place.


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