MPTC Electricity Instructor, Gus Boyle-Gustavus, was looking to push her electricity students to think and communicate creatively on the construction site, specifically when working with diverse customers and/or colleagues. Instead of simply reading or discussing this topic in the classroom, she wanted the students to be active in utilizing their intercultural communication skills.
Collaboration took place between Gus and ELL Program Specialist, Tony Rodriguez, to plan an activity where our MPTC ELL students would only utilize their native language to provide a set of directions to the electricity students. Electricity students needed to problem-solve, communicate creatively, and work with their ELL student partner, to understand the directions provided to them in another language in order to complete their assigned task.
There were a mix of emotions as electricity students worked through the language barrier to complete their task. Many enjoyed the experience and cited that they felt frustrated at times that they could not understand. Several students mentioned this experience inspired them to want to take a Spanish course at some point in the future to help them on the construction site. Many students stated that this experience helped them truly understand the barriers that non-native English speakers face, and that they wanted to continue to develop their knowledge and communication skills in the future.
“Tying in an emotional impact to this type of activity will make it an experience we can learn a great deal from and not forget,” commented one electricity student.
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