According to Education First’s English Proficiency Index (EPI) in 2018, Indonesia is in the low proficiency point of the spectrum, putting it in the 51st place out of 89 countries surveyed. In this dynamic global world we live in today this result is concerning as the ability to speak English has become a necessity to communicate with other countries.

SCOPE (Standing Committee on Professional Exchange) CIMSA UNRI decided to tackle this issue through the development of TECO (Teaching English and Collecting Books) as an effort to improve English ability amongst elementary school students as they are the pioneers of the future of Indonesia. On Saturday, 18 May 2019, we initiated a bonding session with students from SDN 120 Rumbai, Pekanbaru. In this session, we introduced the children to new English vocabularies in the form of various exciting games.

The children were full of energy and seem to enjoy being involved in the games. Though they did not have basic knowledge of the language, they picked up on the instructions and new words fairly quickly. They also worked well in teams and showing great enthusiasm in obtaining the prizes that had been prepared. 

The committee members of TECO incorporated three games into the event and divided the children into four teams. In the first game, the children were shown a series of cards with a picture of different animals on each card. Committee members would then mention the names of the animals in English, and the teams were asked to repeat the name of the animal shown on the card when it was flashed out.

The second game required a little bit more teamwork. The teams were given pieces of paper with words on them and they had to rearrange the words into a coherent sentence. It did not seem as easy to the teams as the first game but their enthusiasm didn’t recede by much. In the end, one of the fastest team managed to rearrange the words into a grammatically correct and meaningful sentence.

In the last game, the committee members would utter a question or request and any child would raise their hand to answer. One child was asked to sing the Alphabet Song, another was asked to mention 10 things inside the room using English, then another one was asked to sing in English, and the last one was asked to introduce herself. All of them were very bold and did as told very well.