Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Against All Odds, The Refugee Experience
Although I will be a future ESOL teacher, I do question sometimes where my job even comes from. Who are the people that I will be teaching and what are their stories? After being assigned to play a serious game for my online class, I was answered some of these questions in the most haunting way. Although many of my students will be immigrants which is just as an intense experience, my eyes were opened to the path that a refugee takes to get here and even someone here on asylum. The game Against All Odds is a virtual simulation into the path a refugee takes to enter this country and even some tasks associated with it after already being here. The steps in this game are intense; Starting with hiding from military prosecution, to finding ways out of the country, finding places to sleep at night, fitting into a new life, and even constantly being judged by other people. This game offers an intense experience into what it might feel like to be a real refugee. Although this may not be essential to language learning in class, it hits a cultural objective to a tee. The best way I could use this is a classroom if I had only a few ESOL students in my class and the rest were mainstream students. I would make all of my students play this game hoping that they are humbled to the experience that someone needs to go through to get into this country and what their classmates are facing. I would use this exercise to be able to open the eyes of my students to show them a piece of culture of the other students in the class and try and connect us as a community.In the meantime, students are all learning to follow directions as per following the game. They must follow instructions and be able to use tact to be able to escape the situations that they are in. Personally I have played this game 3 times successfully, it wasn't without frustration at times. I had to keep repeating the levels over and over because I kept doing things wrong. But this is exactly how the game is supposed to be set up. It wants to portray the struggles and frustrations that refugees encounter. I found it to be a valuable source of a personal story as well as a learning experience. One NYS Standard that I could base this activity on is Standard 5. Standard 5 speaks to Students using language for cross-cultural knowledge and understanding. In focusing on this standard I would be addressing both a language need as well as a cultural need. We could practice using language to describe the encounter that we had with this game. We could kill two birds with one stone. To test students on their comprehension as well as success based on this standard, I would have the students write me a paragraph either describing to me their experience playing the game or either their own personal stories. They would not have to share these stories with others nor myself if not comfortable but there is that option for these students. I hope that I will be able to use this game in the future, I think it is an eye-opening game as well as a valuable piece of cultural knowledge. Just be aware of the age group which is playing this game, It's very graphic and emotional and should not be used for younger crowds.