Guest Post: Dream City (Activity 126)

This is a guest post by Marina Shepel, and it is very special to me for two reasons: first, because I have a colleague from Ukraine adding a new activity (two activities, actually) to the collection I am building. Second, because this was already ‘tested’ in the classroom, and there is a plan to try out the modified version(s) in the future. With gratitude to Marina for supporting my ‘It’s in (Y)Our Hands‘ project, I am giving the floor to her!

Recently I read your post called It’s in (y)our hands (or… is it?)

I liked the idea of using a hand template and wanted to use something like this with my students. As I teach ESP for the students of Public Administration and Tourism and Management majors, I thought this approach could be good for the context of their studies.

I came up with the idea of “My Dream City” activity and wanted to try it with my Public Administration students of Odesa National Polytechnic University.

This activity had two stages. At the first stage students were given the home assignment to prepare the speech with an optional presentation about their dream city. Some students wrote about their native cities, another wrote about Ukrainian cities. Two girls wrote about the European cities they had never been to, but they would like to visit them.

Odesa, Marina’s native city in Ukraine. Picture taken by Marina.

At the second stage students were asked to take sheets of paper and сircle their hands. I told them to imagine themselves being Mayors of their dream cities and share 5 ideas how they would improve their cities. Each finger was one idea, or one improvement step. Students wrote their ideas on their hands template. Among the shared ideas were the following: to make the city transport cheaper and more affordable; to build more playgrounds for kids and recreation zones for everyone; to make the public museums more interactive; to open more tourism information centers for foreign visitors; to develop green/eco transport, etc.

After that students shared their ideas with the others. As a reflection practice I asked them: “Have you imagined yourselves city mayors?” and they answered: “It’s a difficult job! He/she must obtain a lot of knowledge”.

Prague in 2014. Picture taken by Marina.

I can say that such activities make the educational process more interesting and useful for students. Most activities you’ve found on the net you can adapt to your students’ needs.

Students understood that a city mayor should obtain knowledge of different branches (economy, culture, transport, city planning, tourism.). This activity can help to develop students’ communication skills and imagination. My students enjoyed making the hand template. They told me that this type of activity was new for them.

I will try this idea again next year with my students in the other university I teach at, and in a different way.

  1. For the Tourism industry students this activity can be called “5 ways to Improve a Guided Tour”. They will develop 5 ideas of improving any Guided Tour
  2. Management students can develop 5 qualities of a good manager.

This activity can be used to develop students’ imagination, and to teach them to be more creative.

Venice. Picture taken by Marina.

Thank you very much for sharing this post Marina! As I told you in our chat, I was curious how this activity would work for young adults. Some of my colleagues commented that the activity would work well for/with young kids only, and I needed some proof that it can also work for adult learners. Besides, I can see that it is turning into something bigger that ‘Your Favorite City’ as you are helping students see the opportunity for (further) reflection and improvement on their product or service (the guided tour variation), or themselves (as in the manager qualities and skills example). It would be great to hear how those work!

Zhenya’s note: traditionally, if you would like to support Ukrainians in the fight for our future, I am sharing donation links of the organizations or people. This time, it is Yarmiz, a rehab center in Kyiv focusing on sports rehabilitation, psychological and social aid, and  reintegration to the civil life after war. The link is to their Facebook Page, and the About section has information in English. 

The other team is the charitable foundation ‘Corporation of Monsters‘ based in Marina’s native Odesa. The link is to their page in English describing the needs they are addressing in their activities. 

Thank you for reading, and #StandWithUkraine!

About Marina

I hold a PhD in Pedagogy. I started my career as a school teacher and have been teaching for 13 years. In 2012 I left the school where I had been teaching and was self-employed for 5 months. That year I started my job at Odesa Automobile and Road College (ONPU). That same year I started my PhD programme and completed it in 2016 with a PhD in Pedagogy. In 2019 I got a position at Odesa National Academy of Food Technologies (now Odesa National University of Technology). In 2020 Doctor of Economics, Professor Oleksandr Balan invited me to teach English at the Department of Administrative Management and Market Problems (now Department of Public Management and Administration). I like working at both universities because all language learners are different, and I teach English to the students of different majors.


About Zhenya

ELT: teacher educator, trainer coach, reflective practice addict
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