English as a second language (ESL) students at Grenfell Campus had the opportunity to test their language skills in a fun debate against their peers at the GEOS Language School in Ottawa.
"Grenfell recently signed a pathways agreement with GEOS Language School so we thought it would be fun to do something interactive with their students to expose them to our campus," said Melissa Halford, Grenfell's ESL coordinator.
The pathways agreement between GEOS and Grenfell states that students who complete a particular level of programming at GEOS (and, in most cases, who are offered provisional acceptance to undergraduate study at MUN) would be offered automatic acceptance into one of our Intensive English Program levels. This would eliminate the step of providing formal proof of proficiency score recognizing the student's performance at GEOS as a valid proof of proficiency.
The ESL team, including Patrick Arsenault and Thomas Young, set up a traditional debate that took place through video conferencing. The debate topic was: Be it resolved that it is more effective to learn English in a smaller, rural area with less linguistic and cultural diversity. The Grenfell team argued for this statement and the GEOS team in Ottawa argued against it. They followed the traditional debate format with timed statements and rebuttals.
"Our students were nervous at first about the concept but once they got going in the debate room, they were really energetic about properly presenting their points and defending their side of the argument," said Ms. Halford. "We were excited to include this type of innovation in our programming and give the students the opportunity to interact with other language learners in another part of Canada."
Photo: Thomas Young, third from left, of Grenfell's ESL program, along with ESL students Yerin Jeon, JenYu Tang, MinYoung Kim, and HoJeong Lee.