As part of on-campus training to prepare students to work with special populations (refugees, immigrants, homeless, vets, etc) one-hour Language Exchanges were designed by Andrew Young to (1) engage international students with mainstream Guilfordians, (2) give them opportunities to share their cultural backgrounds in meaningful ways, (3) expose mainstream students to the practical problems and emotional, social and cultural dimensions of bridging divides and building community
|New to some learners — changing their voice, pitch, body language, facial expressions as they see to understand and connect.|
The default meeting space is the Green Leaf but by mutual arrangement you can meet in other public spaces. Suggested spaces: Green Leaf, Library (place where it's ok to talk), Cafeteria, Grill, etc. One or two learners is the maximum number.
The facilitator reads these rules to start the Exercise:
|"We want to keep the exercise personal and active. (If there are two learners, you must both work hard to participate.) You are not supposed to lean on one another for help because this isn't the point of the Exercise. (So if there are two learners, no talking and sharing between you.) |
For the next hour or so you will learn as much as you can to speak my language. When we start, I am not allowed to speak English until the exercise is over, so you must try hard to respect the rules. Please turn off your phone. You can write notes for yourself if you want, but no dictionaries, recorders or digital aids. We really want you to practice listening."
Although I do truly understand English, for this exercise we will pretend that I don't. Again, respect the rules. Together we can have a bit of fun and learn something about my culture. Ok, everything clear?"
Let's get started. Andrew has sent you three tasks. I don't know what they are. Within the hour you must strive to complete the tasks."
|To be meaningful, learning on this level has to be intimate. |
The learner is being pressured to communicate in a new way.
An element of make-believe relieves some of the stress and emphasizes the fun nature of the exercise.
But the ultimate purpose is serious: cultural insight and exchange.
Typical examples: Discover the name of the facilitator’s favorite sport, how to say “mother”and “father” in the facilitator’s language, to communicate to the facilitator the name of the learner’s first grade teacher.
|The learner is immediately active. He stands and tries pantomime.|
|The learner tries sketching to communicate. During this time he is not silent, but the facilitator responds quizzically and in Fante.|
|Pictures become the common medium through which the learner begins to find answers and complete his tasks.|
|The learner is reciting words in Fante. A basic exchange has begun.|
|This exchange involved two learners. According to rules they weren't supposed to help one another, but the social nature of the experience and learning conditions meant the rules were soon broken.|
|The facilitator reacts strongly. Clearly there’s a miscommunication. In some exchanges learners must communicate something about themselves, for example, the names of their family members.|
|Learning under these circumstances is not easy. Learners must listen carefully and think in the moment.|
|Another Language Exchange example. Here the mood is a bit more subdued, but still very active, very involved. The Lesson lasts one hour, including instructions and survey.|
|In this Language Lesson, the learner (left), a CCE student, must discover the names of numbers in Fante. The table devices are to boost the learner’s hearing.|
|Later some of our facilitators were invited to organize an International Party with food and music for the entire Guilford campus.|