Election speaking …


“How many syllables does referendum have?” “In my opinion, too many, teacher!”

Yes, ‘Election speaking’ can be a challenge.

Palmerston North’s ESOL Intensive class began studying Election 2020 with ‘Follow the Leader.’ Whoever was holding the fly swat gave random instructions for the class to follow. In the debrief, learners discussed what it means to ‘be in charge’ and how we can choose leaders.

When the lesson moved to ‘how to enrol’, one learner was especially relieved to learn the letter arriving in the mail after enrolling is not another enrolment form.
He had filled it out and returned it three times!

Then a reading activity about a mayor forgetting to vote for himself and losing the election gave a simple and hilarious overview of a campaign journey.

Next, learners got into groups to do a little ‘campaigning’ of their own, where each group proposed an end-of-term event. Extravagant ideas like a trip to Dubai and a bus trip to Auckland were suggested, as well as local activities like the movies and a BBQ.

Class ‘election workers’ were appointed and everyone voted for the idea they liked most. The ‘candidate’ section of the voting paper was used as a list of special guests the learners most wanted to invite along to the class next term.

Our great teachable moment occurred when a third of class voting papers had to be put in the rubbish. This led to a careful look at where to tick the paper and how many votes people have.

A few days later, another election was held. Success! 100% of the votes could be counted! At this point, the class touched on percentage and fraction numeracy skills to analyse the results.

The English Language Partners election resources are awesome. Although the learners didn’t get through everything, the comparison between ‘now and then’ regarding our history of voting was discussed with great interest.

Of course, a ‘New Zealand Elections’ Kahoot* went down a treat too.

ELPNZ’s General Election 2020 resources are available for teachers, learners and the wider community to use and share.
The material is aimed at ESOL teachers and ESOL background students at elementary and intermediate levels of English.

*Kahoot is a game-based learning platform, used as educational technology in schools and other educational institutions. Its learning games, “Kahoots”, are user-generated multiple-choice quizzes that can be accessed via a web browser. ELPNZ thanks Palmerston North teacher Vanessa Curtis for this blog post.

ELP students learn about the election
ELP students learn about the election

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