The Star Malaysia - Star2
Gaining confidence through science
ALL over the world, the way schools teach English is changing. Many countries are starting to use English as a medium of instruction (EMI) for academic subjects such as science, mathematics, geography and medicine. This shift can be seen most strongly in universities, but has started in both secondary and primary schools as well. The British Council is at the forefront of this trend.
Using subjects such as science and technology to teach English has many benefits for children. Firstly, it gives children a chance to develop Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) such as problem solving, analytical thinking, creativity and evaluation. These skills are highly sought after by top schools, universities and employers.
Secondly, it prepares children for when they will need to use English in future, such as studying abroad or working in an international company.
Finally and most importantly, science and technology are broad and fascinating subjects, giving children the chance to be creative, do experiments, get messy, make crafts and learn more about the world around them. When children are engaged, motivated and having fun, learning happens without them even noticing.
The British Council offers its 2018 holiday courses – “Confident speaking and writing through science and technology”, which use a wide range of topics to get students excited about using English to solve problems, present ideas and be creative. Students are split into four age groups and each will take part in experiments, make crafts, research, give presentations and write about their discoveries.
Five to six-year olds will explore a range of topics such as “The Animal Kingdom” and “The Solar System” in English and participate in fun activities such as weird and wonderful science experiments, making crafty and colourful posters and building the tallest tower. They will write about their creations and present them to the group, giving them the opportunity to practise public speaking.
Seven- to 10-year olds will learn about science, engineering and computing and write about and present their ideas. Students will have a chance to utilise more advanced HOTS, such as analytical thinking to complete different sets of challenges and work in teams to conduct amazing experiments with volcanoes, waves and wind power.
Meanwhile, 11- to 13-year-old students will approach a number of scientific topics as researchers, using technology to find answers to scientific problems. They will develop confidence in speaking by interviewing their classmates and develop their writing skills by being journalists for a day, investigating and writing about natural disasters, living in zero gravity and medical mysteries.
The 14- to 17-year-old students will push themselves to work on challenges such as building the strongest bridge, producing a detailed plan for an expedition and recording a presentation about living on Mars. These will push them to fluently use English in speaking and writing to prepare them for higher education.