Daily Boomalang, a CultureWorks ESL school elective using the news of the day to help with your listening and speaking skills.

 

Want an innovative elective, completely online, where listening and speaking skills are front and centre each day, without a pen or pencil in sight?

Daily Boomalang is that course, helping students carry on conversations with a moderator and fellow students. The subject matter: The current issues and events of the day.

Daily Boomlang has been one of CultureWorks elective class choices for the past three years. Think of your old elementary school current events class and you will see the similarities.

We take the best news stories of the day and share the links with students online. It is not a journalism class, but it is a forum that uses the best of their work in offering us the most topical newspaper, television and online stories of the day.

The stories we choose are intended to engage students in conversation about what is happening in the world around them.

Now what on earth are we talking about? Or for that matter, what, why, when, how, where and who are we talking about?

So let’s borrow from Rudyard Kipling, the legendary British short-story writer, poet, and novelist, to give us a hand explaining. This is from a poem Kipling wrote in 1902.

I keep six honest serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are WHAT and WHY and WHEN

And HOW and WHERE and WHO.

The so-called five Ws and an H became the cornerstone for teaching journalism to students. So let’s use this same vehicle to explain the Daily Boomalang elective.

1. WHAT is Daily Boomalang?

Daily Boomalang is an online course that allows students to practice their listening and speaking skills anywhere there is internet access. Carried out in real time, this elective is focused on daily current events, guided by a course moderator. Topics include a mix of international, national and local news. Students completing their intensive English training have the opportunity to critically reflect upon the news, share opinions and discuss a variety of topics within an intimate class format. The size of the online class – no more than 6-8 students – allows regular conversation in English, helping students build up the confidence needed to reach their goals. And the online forum is always encouraging and never intimidating!

 

2. WHY the name Daily Boomalang?

Answer is quite simple: it is a name taken from the Australian, frisbee-like throwing instrument, the boomerang. The boomerang, when thrown properly, takes flight and then returns to the person throwing it. We want this to happen with Boomalang. We want the English language to be used freely with your thoughts and ideas expressed in open conversation and words of wisdom coming back in your direction. So boomerang, plus language, becomes Boomalang!

3. WHEN do the Daily Boomalang classes occur?

The classes are online, always in the evening. Before every class, the moderator will send articles and videos to the students about the topics to be discussed that night. Everyone will have plenty of time to read through the material. The classes themselves are 50 minutes, 3 times a week.

4. HOW does Daily Boomalang enhance intensive English training?

Daily Boomalang helps students practice words and expressions learned in class as they study English in Canada. Regular conversation helps students get used to new words, phrases and expressions. Boomalang students enhance their English fluency – along with their critical thinking skills – as they analyze important issues and share their own opinions. Unlike other courses, there are no textbooks required.

5. WHERE does Daily Boomalang happen?

It can happen wherever the student would like it to. It is 100 percent online. Classes can be attended in any place; from the comfort of his or her living room to the corner of the school library. Students do need, however, a strong internet connection so that they can sign on, be seen and heard clearly and generally be able to interact with the moderator and fellow students.

6. WHO is in a Daily Boomalang class?

Once the student has selected the Daily Boomalang elective, he or she will be placed in a class. We place a limit on the numbers in each class so that every student has the opportunity to speak on all subjects. A moderator is also in each class. His or her role is to help ensure all students have a chance to speak, and to create an engaging conversation. And we also have an IT person in each class to help with any technical difficulties students may encounter. Finally, a teacher advisor is attached to each Daily Boomalang class and he or she may drop in at any time.

Want to learn more about Daily Boomalang and other electives offered by our ESL School?

Visit our Facebook or Twitter accounts to see examples of stories Daily Boomalang students discuss, as well as clips from classes.