What will be the benefit from the friendship built up among classmates?
Having students and teachers from around the world is one of the biggest reasons students and parents choose our school. If your child attends the local school they will surely make lots of friends. Friends are an essential part of healthy living and learning. However, you are limited by your location.
The bonds of friendship can start young. Although students may come from different cultures and backgrounds, they are all learning together. As in a physical classroom, the virtual classroom provides many of the same opportunities for kids to become friends. We highly encourage students to become friends in class as this will provide a lot of fulfillment and happiness. When children make friends at school, they will enjoy it more. They will have someone just like them, but in another country. Children are curious by nature so they will want to know more about each student.
Making friends online works much like making friends at your school. It takes a bit of time, common interests and communication. We hope all students can make friends with someone from another country. They will learn more from them than we could ever hope to teach in a class.
Let’s cover a few basics of the virtual environment.
1. While in class, show your face on camera, and speak up. When you are smiling and being friendly other students will want to do the same. It is difficult to get to know a student when they are off camera, and not participating in class.
2. Share things about yourself. Let everyone know where you are from, what things you like to do and other interests. You might find that other students like the same thing. Maybe you both like video games, or have an interest in science. Be sure it is okay with the teacher that you are speaking in class. Usually the 5 minutes before or after class is a good time to speak to other students. Teachers will often have discussions and time to share but you will have to ask each teacher.
3. Ask other students questions. Just like before, make sure it is the right time. You can ask other students about their hobbies and interests. Practice using English to learn more about your classmates. You can say:
“Hi I am _____. I am from ______. Where are you from?” “What’s the weather like in your country?” “In my country we celebrate ________. What do you celebrate in yours?”
4. You can try emailing classmates. Usually SEA students have an email account with their name. For example, “firstname.lastname@example.org”. You can email them as if you were writing a letter. Practice using some of the questions above, or try some new ones.
Even though we want everyone to make friends and get along, it is important to be careful with what you do on the internet.
Do not share personal information. It is okay to say your first name, and what country you are from. Be careful with what you share. SEA is not responsible for what students share among students. Therefore, if you are under 18 you need to have your parent;s permission to email students or interact with them outside of SEA class time. It is best to use @seaup.org accounts to communicate and to keep communication related to class and student life.
We are building a community. We have held meet-ups where many students, teachers, and parents could all meet. Many of the people worked together in class, but never met face to face until we held events. As the school grows we hope to build an international community. We would love to invite students from all around the world to visit Taiwan. Eventually, SEA will host events around the world. Stay in touch to learn more about meet ups in the future.
Answered by Chris Ternosky