February 16, 2011

Hump Day!!

Every once in a while, there is something on Facebook that appeals to me, or captures my attention. A lot of the ads along the sides of the Facebook pages, I usually just try to ignore.

One caught my attention though. It was introducing a new program involving learning English. Okay, so I personally don’t really need to learn English (at least, I hope not!!), but I thought I’d see if it is something that I could use in my classes.

It turned out that this program is similar to the game show, ‘Jeopardy’. For those that have no idea what ‘Jeopardy’ is, there are six categories, and six questions in each category.

Contestants choose the category and amount they want to pose a question that the answer is given. Now, this type of game would be quite difficult for students learning English.

This program is called “English Whiz”. Basically, it is the same concept though. There are three levels of questions. In each level, there are six categories. In each category, there are four questions. Unlike ‘Jeopardy’ though, there is only the one round. There is no ‘Double Jeopardy’ or ‘Final Jeopardy’.

The maximum score, should one be able to answer all the questions correctly, is 600 points. Well, I did attempt the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels, and scored 600 each time. Fair enough. The questions are not that difficult, and are all multiple-choice.

For a person who has spoken English all their lives, and been through the education system in an English environment, these questions will be fairly easy.

Today, in my junior high classes, I decided to try this game out with the students. Now, my Wednesday students are not as advanced in English as my other days’ classes.

I decided to try the beginner level first. I gave each student a chance to answer a question. The student had to tell me the category and value they wanted to attempt. At the beginner level, the difference between a 10 point question and a 40 point question is negligible. They are all about the same level of difficulty.

After they completed the first round, and everyone had had a chance to answer a question, I decided to try something a bit different.

In the next round of play, I started with the last person who was chosen to answer a question. That student had a chance to pick whatever category and value they wanted. Answering correctly, they got to choose the next student to answer a question. If that student answered correctly, they got to choose someone else. If wrong, then the former student would choose someone else.

A few things I did need to help the students with, was a description of the categories. Some of these students didn’t really know what the category was about. I gave them examples, so they would understand. However, it did seem that they enjoyed this program.

I actually had a couple of students come up to me after class, and stated how they enjoyed this class. Now, you must understand something about my method of teaching.

It has been told to me over the years, that playing games is a good way of teaching. However, over the years, I have noticed that the students enjoy playing games, yes, however, they tend to speak more Chinese during ‘game time’, and in my opinion, don’t really ‘learn’ anything in English. A lot of the games that I have tried, just reiterate what they’ve already learned.

This game however, is quite different. Each question is random, different, and the topics are random as well. I do believe, that I will be using this game A LOT. It won’t take over the class and what I am asked to teach normally, but I will use it about once a month as a break in the regular teaching schedule.

For any teachers who read my blog, or parents who want their youngsters to improve their English and learn something, the link is: http://www.latcomm.com/englishwizz/

It is not often that I endorse or suggest something, but I do like this program. As they are just starting up, there are a limited number of categories and questions (as I have noticed), and a couple of small errors which I will try to relate back to the programmers if I can.

Have fun with it, test it out, and let the programmers know. Fun while actually learning something.

That’s it, that’s all… for now…


1 Comment

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One response to “February 16, 2011

  1. Scott

    That was good. It was quite easy but as you said, for us it really should be. I can see how this would be fun and hopefully also educational.
    Good find.

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