Jessica Florent & David Leach
Student Engagement and The Biggest Morning Tea

English language teachers face two enduring problems: encouraging international students to engage with the community beyond their peer group and to develop their communication skills in authentic situations. We have addressed this problem through a large-scale project based around The Cancer Council fundraiser, The Biggest Morning Tea. This successful initiative requires students over a five week period to plan and execute an event. Using a series of eight tasks over four weeks, teachers guide students through the process of developing their written and spoken communication skills to negotiate with local businesses, liaise with university service providers, request donations and raffle prizes, and persuade university staff and students to participate. They work together in teams to plan and execute the event, and on the day, set up the venue, provide catering, monitor and troubleshoot, greet guests, make speeches, draw raffles, clean up and count up takings. In 2017, 27 upper-intermediate students catered for over 1000 guests and raised over $5000 for charity.

This project, for many students is their first real work experience in English. Course evaluations and student learning journals show it results in a great sense of achievement from contributing to a real world problem and provides skills that students draw on in their future university studies and in the workplace.

In this session, participants will learn about our process of facilitating a large scale project. They will receive project worksheets that will enable them to run successful projects in their own centres.

Jessica Florent is an English Language Teacher at ICTE-UQ. She started her career in Indonesia and continued in Spain. She has an interest in teaching Business English, motivating students through project work and has recently been involved in e-learning design.

David Leach is an English Language teacher who has taught in Japan, the Lao PDR and Australia. His interests are designing and delivering English for Business Purposes courses, running projects, extra-curricular activities and teacher-generated PD at ICTE-UQ.