Blog entry by Joanne Chuang
Anyone in the world
我是遊戲迷 ! 不僅是因為我愛玩 (真心不騙！)，而且身為教育工作者的我非常專業。當我還在牛津大學唸書時，我察覺到將遊戲作為學習工具有很多未開發的潛力。這其中有很多以科學為基礎的論述：我們之所以如此喜歡遊戲：它觸發了我們大腦中解決問題的區域，而人類天性就愛解決疑難雜症 ! 遊戲同時也觸發了創意的區塊 - 將兩者結合，我們會獲得高度成癮的體驗！身為父母 (我同時也是一位家長)，我們經常憂心孩子玩遊戲 (電玩給人的印象至今依然不佳)，因為我們擔心孩子會因此沉迷。然而實際上，孩子愛玩遊戲是因為它是鍛煉大腦的利器 - 是一種運動。以此觀點出發，遊戲對學生和及其大腦發育非常有益。
I am a big fan of games! Not just because I like playing them (I do!) but professionally as an educator too. When I was studying at Oxford University, I realised there was a lot of untapped potential for games as a learning tool. There are good science-based reasons for this: the reason we like games so much is that they trigger the problem-solving parts of our brains - and human beings just LOVE problem-solving! Games also trigger the creative parts too - and put these two together and you have a highly addictive experience! As parents (and I am a parent too), we are often afraid of our children playing games (computer games have a very bad reputation still) as we worry they get addicted. But the truth is, they love the games because they are a workout for their brains - they are exercise. From this perspective, games can be highly beneficial to students and their brain development.
不過電玩的確有缺點。它們可能是完全與世隔絕的，絕大部份的互動僅存在玩家和螢幕之間。他們因此不常運用到人類成功所需解鎖的第三項技能 - 溝通技巧 。的確，有些遊戲的進行仰賴與人合作或競爭，但如果真的要進行互動，也許該離開視窗。此時桌遊正可以派上用場。桌遊是高度的社交活動，近來非常流行。我想多數的父母會非常支持孩子玩棋盤遊戲等桌遊。
But computer games do have a downside. They can be quite insular, with the interaction mostly between player and screen. They thus do not always exercise the third skill humans need to succeed - communication. True some games can be played cooperatively or competitively, but if you really want interaction, you maybe need to remove the screen. Here is where board games come in. Board games are highly social activities, and are recently very popular. Most parents would be highly supportive of children playing board games.
最典型的社群遊戲是RPG (角色扮演) 。在角色扮演遊戲中，玩家可以做任何自己想做的事，他們的行為只受限於自身想像力及成功通關與否。遊戲成功的機率取決於運氣及地下城主 (遊戲中扮演神般角色的玩家) 所控制。舉例來說，我想與龍搏鬥，我可以告訴城主我想要使用我的寶劍或魔法杖，此時城主會決定我該擲出幾點以獲得成功。因此，角色扮演結合了 “創意” (玩家需共同想像和創造世界)、“問題解決能力” (玩家共同創造和解決問題)、和 “溝通能力” ( 前述這些都需要社交互動)。而創意、問題解決能力、和溝通能力正好是牛津大學指名為未來成功所需具備最重要的三項技能。
And the most social game type of all, is an RPG (Role-Playing Game). In an RPG, players can do anything they wish - their actions are only limited by their imaginations and by whether they succeed or not. Their chance to succeed depends on a dice Roll and is controlled by the Dungeon Master (a player who assumes a god-like role in the game). So, say I want to fight a dragon - I can tell the Dungeon Master I want to use my sword, or I can tell him I want to use my magic staff - the Dungeon Master will then tell me what number I need to Roll to succeed. So RPGs combine creativity (as the players must imagine and create the world together), problem-solving (as players create and solve problems together) and communication (all this requires social interaction). Creativity, problem-solving and communication happen to be the three skills Oxford University has named as the most important skills for success tomorrow.
在台灣身為一名英語老師，我們還面臨另一個難題，讓學生使用英語互相交談可能很困難，我們在讓學生用英語表現和演出方面已取得很大的進展 ( 有興趣的話，可以參考我們的Drama 戲劇 + Grammar文法=Drammar 英語戲說文法課程 )；然而這不等於可以讓他們為達溝通目的而自發地造句、自在地使用英文交談。問題在於，如果要求兩位台灣學生彼此自然地交談，他們幾乎總會在沒人注意時自動切換回中文。這很正常，因為學生想完成任務、所以作出決定來解決問題 - 而中文是他們的母語，他們知道對方也會說中文，所以最快達標的捷徑就是用母語溝通。即便年紀稍長的學生也是如此，我發現只有成年人才足以成熟地約束、強迫自己選擇較難的途徑，堅持使用英文。如何讓學生持續使用英文呢? 當然，你可以在學生脫口說中文時祭出威嚇、懲罰手段，相對的學生們很快也會厭惡你的課。我曾經嘗試一些可笑的懲處，像是在課堂上跳舞，但有些學生對此厭惡至極。我也嘗試過一些利誘方式，比如提供零食或獎勵給在課堂上使用最多英文的班級，這多少有點奏效，但也並非適用每個學生，有些人根本不在乎獎品。我也嘗試過讓學生在只能說英文的前提下，進行西洋棋或其它桌遊，但學生在玩西洋棋時所說的英文就像中文一樣簡單。因此，早期所做的這些實驗不免令人有些挫折，頂多只取得了些許成功。
As English teachers in Taiwan, we face an additional difficulty - it can be hard to get students to speak to each other in English. We've already had a lot of success with getting students to act and perform in English (check out our English Drammar Course = Drama + Grammar, if you are interested) but that is not the same as getting them to freely converse - to spontaneously create sentences and use them for a purpose. The problem is, if you ask two Taiwanese students to communicate with each other naturally, they almost always switch into Chinese as soon as no-one is watching. And this is natural, as the students want to get the task done, make a decision, solve a problem - Chinese is their first language and they know the other person also speaks Chinese - so the shortest route to their goal is to communicate in their native language. Even older students will do this, and I have found only adults have the commitment and maturity to force themselves to take the harder path and to stay in English. So how to make students stay in English. Sure you could use threats and punishments if they utter a word of Chinese - but students will quickly hate your class. I tried making students pay a silly penalty, such as needing to dance for the class, but some resented this. I've tried incentives, such as food or rewards for classes that use the most English - this works a bit, but not for every student. Some don't care about the prizes. I had tried having students play Chess or other board games under the condition they talk in English - but you can play Chess speaking Chinese just as easily as you can speaking English. So my early experiments were frustrating and only partial successes at best.
I've always said language is a tool, not a subject. You should not study a language, you should need it to achieve a goal. And that's when I hit on the idea of an English RPG. In the RPG, students MUST use English to play the game. They have to tell the teacher what they want to do. I've noticed students are pretty good about speaking English to teachers, especially when the teacher is a foreigner. Now all their interactions go to the teacher, and the teacher will listen and reply in English. The plan is that, suddenly, the whole class will only be in English, with Chinese used as a backup if there is something not understood.
自今年9月開始在BTS (By the Student) 無界塾 - 由一手打造Pagamo 線上遊戲學習系統，以創新教育聞名遐邇的葉丙成教授所創立。我們將開始3個新的桌遊課程。針對5年級生，將進行一款名為 Englishero 的遊戲，學生們在遊戲中扮演超級英雄。他們可以選擇自己的超能力，每個回合說出自己想做的事或挑選任務卡。他們可以選擇救人、幹壞事、與其它超級英雄競爭、遊歷冒險城各處地方。他們必須選擇隱藏或公開自己超級英雄的身份。他們甚至可以設計自己的超人裝。
Starting this September at BTS (By the Student) School, a school run by Professor Benson Yeh who is famous for his work gamifying education in Pagamo, we will be opening three new Board Game Courses. For the Year 5s, a game called Englishero, where students play as superheroes. They choose their powers, and say what they want to do each turn, or pick up mission cards. They can save people, or do bad things, fight other superheroes, visit the many locations in Venture City. They have to choose whether to be a secret superhero or a public one. They can even design their costumes.
第二款遊戲名稱是 'Game of Business' 的商業遊戲，旨在教學生如何開始自己的公司。他們必須獲得投資、利用這筆錢來發展公司的各個部門，多少預算用於研發?多少預算用於營銷?他們必須開發一個品牌和產品來銷售，決定在何處建廠? 目標市場在哪裡? 同時，他們也需要處理一間公司所可能面臨的各種問題，例如 : 員工不滿、訴訟等。
A second game, with a working title 'Game of Business' is designed to teach students how to open their own company. They have to get investment and use that money to develop the different departments in a company - how much to spend on R&D, how much on marketing? They need to create a brand and products to sell. They need to decide where in the world to put their factories, and where to sell their products. And they will have to deal with the many problems a company faces - unhappy employees, lawsuits and more.
第三款遊戲 'Game of Investment' 投資遊戲，將教學生如何投資股票。他們需要選擇一個投資組合，觀察它如何隨著世界情勢表現，如：戰爭、新技術誕生、流行病，並在合適的時間點賣出、買進。
And the third game, 'Game of Investment' will teach students how to invest in stocks. They need to select a portfolio and watch it grow as world events occur - war, technological discoveries, pandemics - selling and reinvesting as they see fit.
It's been a crazy summer of creativity for me as the designer - I have nearly finished Englishero but still have the two other games to go (with only two weeks left before term starts!). I'll keep you posted with news about the development and how students respond to these new ways of learning! Hopefully, we get students using English naturally, spontaneously and consistently for the first time!
跟大家分享 Englishero 地毯尺寸的遊戲墊....
For now, enjoy the pics of Englishero!
如果你對這些遊戲有興趣，我們正在考慮盡快開始一些線上RPG課程！請持續關注 English Sandwich、Oxford English Masters 和我個人頁面 Matthew David Townend 以獲得更多訊息！
And if you are interested in playing these games - we are considering starting some online role-playing game classes soon! So keep watching English Sandwich, Oxford English Masters, and my page Matthew David Townend for more info!
[ Modified: Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 1:32 PM ]