- Keywords: Communication, motivation, review, passports
- Learner English Level: Upper elementary school and above
- Learner Maturity: Elementary and above
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Activity time: 3-10 minutes
- Materials: Communication passports, stamps or pens
At our elementary school, students learn English every day for six years. However, it is always a struggle for the students to use and practice English outside of the classroom. A further difficulty is having students remember the English learned in previous lessons and years. As our students become 5th and 6th graders, the amount of English they learn is substantial to the point that many students forget what they have learned previously. To overcome these obstacles, our English team developed an English passport activity to encourage students to use English outside of class and to give them a chance to review the English they have learned. The English passports are designed to look like actual passports and after each activity, the teachers sign/stamp and date the inside of the passport. This activity encourages proactive learning from the students by having them come to the teachers to review English or to talk with them.
Make communication passports using an A4 paper folded in half. The outside of the passport looks like a regular passport. The inside of the passport has pictures or avatars of the eight English teachers at our school that the students must talk to. An example passport is shown in the appendix.
Step 1: Introduce the passports in class and use class time to explain the activities.
Step 2: The students must do one of these activities to receive a signature or stamp: a) Lead a free conversation with a teacher, b) Have a conversation or do a role-play with another student in front of a teacher, c) Show a teacher extra English work they did outside of class such as notebook writing or an English book they are reading, d) Come to a teacher for extra English help such as pronunciation or clarification of English class lessons or activity.
Step 3: Do some examples in front of the class with another teacher or a confident student to help students visualize the activity.
Step 4: Allow students to think of questions for the free conversation with a teacher.
For schools with only one English teacher, getting the homeroom or other teachers involved could help with the teacher-to-student ratio. Selecting eight different activities to complete rather than speaking with eight teachers is another great alternative.
The English passports provide a great opportunity for students to practice English in a casual setting. The idea of getting signatures or stamps from the teachers is a great motivational tool for the students to visit as many teachers as possible. Another great aspect of this activity is that it works well with students of all levels. Helping lower-level students with reading or allowing them to complete an unfinished activity keeps them on pace with English classes while the stronger students can handle spontaneous follow-up questions from the teachers during communication activities. The students’ enthusiasm for the activity as well as the chance to ask questions and talk to the teachers was surprising for us. Most of the students were able to complete the passport activity while almost every student got at least a few signatures or stamps. The ability to use English outside of the classroom has provided a great opportunity for the students and teachers to get to know one another on a more personal level, and allows students to experience English beyond a school subject taught in classrooms.
The appendix is available as a downloadable PDF file below.