In small groups or pairs, students will experiment with communicating without a shared language to empathize with the experience of integrating into a different culture and practice making connections with English Language Learners.
• Divide students into small groups or pairs
• Introduce the premise that one person in the group does not speak the same language as the others (students can take turns playing this role). Present a number of different scenarios in which both those who speak the language and those who don't must find a way to communicate. Explain that the goal is to communicate as much as possible without speaking, to try and get to know each other or get one's message across clearly. Encourage them to experiment with different movements, sounds, gestures, body language and hand signs.
• Possible scenarios to use: What if you noticed that someone dropped their hat while they were walking? What if you noticed smoke coming out of your neighbour's window and needed to tell an adult? What if you felt sick at school? What if your friend was injured? What if you couldn't find your family at the grocery store?
• After they have had time to experiment with the scenarios, the groups can share their discoveries or reenact their scenes with the class.
• The teacher can guide discussion by asking students to explain what was communicated in the scenes. The students can then ask questions and make suggestions for how they could have better communicated with one another.
• Did you find it difficult to communicate without using language?
• What might it be like to encounter situations like this every day?
• What are some ways that you can help someone who doesn't understand the language everyone else is speaking? • How did this exercise make you feel?