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English school for children and young adults in Sapporo

The Role of the General Knowledge Quiz ~一般常識クイズの良いところ~





このクイズを通して、彼らはたくさんの質問形式に出会います。「どの人が…」、「何年に…」、「何人の人が…」、「どこで起こったのか」などなどです。どのような質問がされても、彼らはリスニング能力や単語の知識をフル活用して、鍵となる表現を特定し理解します。たとえば、“In what year did the first aeroplane fly?”. (飛行機が初めて飛んだのは何年のことでしょうか)という質問に対し、彼らは「何年」「初めて」「飛行機」「飛ぶ」という単語を拾い上げることができます。そして多くの生徒がこの質問にきちんと答えることができるのです。


この過程の中で、このようなことを聞くとき、what year という表現を in という前置詞と一緒に使うんだとか、歴史に関する質問では did や was を使うんだなとか、飛行機は plane とも言うし aeroplane とも airplane とも言うんだなと気づきますね。たくさんの質問やクイズに触れているうちに、たとえ一語一句全てを聞けていなかったとしても、何を聞かれているのかを直感で理解し、様々な頻出表現や地域による表現の違いなを理解しながら、質問に対する答え以外の部分から得る情報や知識を、生徒さん達はゆっくりと蓄積させているのです。  





Among all of the activities we use in Gateway classes, one is often particularly well received - the general knowledge quiz. There are many variations in how the activity is used, but ultimately the core is the same. Students are asked a variety of questions about topics such as music, science and history through English questions.


One might ask, what is the purpose of doing such a quiz? What is the learning objective? To realise the power of the activity, we have to look not at the language of the question, but at the thought process of the contestant.


Throughout the quiz, students are faced with a multitude of question types and formats. “Which member of~”, “In what year~”, “How many people~”, “Where did ~ happen?”... the list goes on. Our students tend to have both the listening ability and vocabulary knowledge to identify and understand the key words in any given question, for example: “In what year did the first aeroplane fly?”. Students here can pick out the words “what”, “year”, “first”, “plane” and “fly”, and for many students that is more than enough to answer the question.


In the process they have also found that “what year” and “in” occur together in this kind of question, that all history questions tend to use “did” or “was”, and sometimes “planes” are “aeroplanes” or “airplanes”. This extra information slowly accumulates over many questions and many quizzes, to the extent that students intuitively understand the nature of questions without listening so intently, and understand a greater variety of common words and regional variations.


This is the true value of the general knowledge quiz. It is a bonus if students can learn something new about the world or about history, but the real value comes from noticing where your own understanding of the question doesn’t match up with the correct interpretation in a natural and fun way, and this in itself represents one of the most important tenets of the Gateway course. The most natural and expedient way to learn a language and improve your skills is to practise and to notice when there is an issue such that you can fix it yourself in order to communicate, and in turn understand that communication unlocks access to ideas and knowledge you find interesting.