Taipei to expand 'English Village' program throughout city
By Lauly Li, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- “Learning English in the scenario centers is so much fun,” Winni Lo, a Yi Xian Elementary School (逸仙國小) fourth-grader, told The China Post recently, adding that she enjoys playing and learning in the class.
March 17, 2013, 12:31 am TWN
Taipei City will expand its “English Village” program in 2013 to give all 12 administrative districts an elementary school with scenario centers for English learning, the city's Department of Education (DOE, 教育局) said.
Hsieh Li-hua (謝麗華), a DOE official, said the English Village program is set to enhance young students' English-learning progress by letting them study in the simulated-scenarios centers.
Kirk Lemieux, a teacher at Yi Xian Elementary School, said the English Villages provide chances for young students to use English more effectively. “These scenarios are real-life situations, which are different from sitting in the classroom and studying textbooks,” he said.
Trinidad Hernandez, who teaches at Yi Xian Elementary School, said the students can interact through various types of activities in the scenario centers. He said while the students role-play different scenarios, they can walk around in the classroom and use their body language as part of their English communication.
“The students are more engaged, focused and have fun in the scenario centers,” Hernandez said.
Cheng Hui-Ying (鄭惠穎), who is in charge of the Yi Xian school's English Village, said they redecorated four empty classrooms to make a simulated hotel, MRT station, restaurant and supermarket. Cheng added that the school even decorated hallways to resemble airport security checkpoints.
English Village for Every School: DOE
Hsieh said the program took effect in 2010. The DOE first assisted Perng-lai (蓬萊) and Bin-jiang (濱江) elementary schools to establish scenario centers for English learning.
So far there are eight elementary schools with an English Village on campus in eight different districts, Hsieh said, adding that the city government will discuss and elect four more schools for four districts in 2013.
Hsieh said the scenario centers are public resources, thus once all administrative districts have an English Village on the campus, every school will be responsible for opening their scenario centers for other schools in the same district to utilize.
Tian-Mu Elementary School (天母國小) Principle Wang Hui-chu (王慧珠) said every school which has scenario centers will have two to three foreign teachers and two local teachers. Wang said there are 18 foreign teachers working for the English Village program. The DOE authorized Tian-Mu Elementary School to organize the affairs of foreign teachers in Taipei, Wang said.
Wang said all the foreign teachers will gather at Tian-Mu Elementary School every Monday to share their teaching experience with each other and discuss utilization of teaching materials.
For the schools that do not have foreign teachers nor scenario centers on campus, the Tian-Mu school will assign foreign teachers to bring teaching materials to them, Wang said.