ESOL Culture Day!

May 31, 2017 at 3:59 PM

Having trouble using chop sticks? Wondering how to write your name in Chinese? Fancy yourself as a dumpling chef, a dragon artist or Chinese knot maker? The opportunities were all there today at the Middle School ESOL Culture Day.

Our ESOL students, whose first language is Chinese, had been set a three part assignment to help with their developing English language skills. Firstly, they had undertaken a written project to compare their own culture to that of New Zealand. Researching widely, some interesting facts came to the fore such as in New Zealand, we have a food preference for beef and lamb, whereas in China they are more likely to eat pork and chicken. Schooling in China is stricter and the school day is longer, whilst New Zealand offers more subject and greater opportunity for co-curricular involvement.

In the second part of their assignment, they selected an aspect of their own culture and wrote a set of instructions to explain the task. The third part came to fruition today as they set up stalls in the foyer of Elliot Hall to demonstrate their chosen skill while giving verbal instructions in English.

The stalls provided fascinating insights into the students’ heritage, and covered many types of cultural expression. Tea was brewed and served, dumplings and wantons were made and students learnt how to mix the glutinous ciba. To entertain, there were demonstrations of Chinese chess, dragon drawing, lantern making and writing with a brush – as well as the opportunity to practise with chopsticks.

It was fantastic to see the students thriving in the opportunity to practise their English, while imparting something that is special to them. Inevitably, the instructions led to more in-depth conversations between the stall-holders and their ‘customers’ as they progressed through the demonstrations. Well done to the students who took part for representing their cultures with pride and passion!


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