By Tan Yimin and Lim Yik Shuan
Have you ever hunted for treasure, virtually? With the pandemic raging on, and various restrictions to movement imposed by the government, many students have been staying indoors. A break from the humdrum of online classes and assignments seemed overdue.
The Centre for Languages organised the English E-Treasure Hunt via Google Meet on 17 July 2021, Saturday, from 8.30 am to 12.00 noon. Prizes for winners which included smartwatches and speakers were enticing enough to attract a total of 68 participants.
At the English E-Treasure Hunt, participants solved puzzles by filling in the blanks of reading passages provided, searching for answers on English websites of eight different news organisations – The Star, Malay Mail, Free Malaysia Today, Sun Daily, New Straits Times, Malaysia Now, Says Malaysia and The Sun.
Participants, grouped in teams of threes, had butterflies in their stomach as they raced from one station (a Google Meet chat room) to another. The participants were only given two to three minutes to skim and scan a reading passage displayed via the screen share function by the station master, an English language lecturer of HCUC, who would scroll down or up to display the next reading passage after the given time limit was over.
Meanwhile, a clue that consisted of one or two words was provided by the station master to facilitate the brainstorming process of participants, who mulled over the blanks, zipped through articles on news sites, and whizzed past headlines, looking for their ‘treasure’ or appropriate phrases that would fit into the blanks. The group with the most number of correct answers and who submitted their answers via email most quickly were declared the winners. Teamwork was vital during this treasure hunt (and speed reading, a necessary skill).
The lecturer in charge and the host of this treasure hunt, Mr Arif shared that the aim of this event was to promote the usage of English among students and instill fun in trying to acquire the language since English still remains an important language for communicating either for work or for socializing.
“The outcome of the event is great as there were a lot of participants that tried their best. Since it is an online event, there were limits to how a treasure hunt could be conducted. But with the participation of students and lecturers, the event was fun,” said Mr Arif.
“ The winners were happy and the prizes were able to be delivered through postage, instead of a live ceremony where we can see each other face to face like we used to before the pandemic,” he added.
There were two groups of students who won this treasure hunt and they were asked to share their winners’ speech. Ben’s group who won the second prize stated that it was difficult to find the answer at first, but it turned out to be easy after knowing how it was. So, overall, he said that it is fun to search for the answer. While Tan Xin Yi’s group who won the first prize said that they definitely felt excited and were unexpected to be the winner of this English E-Treasure Hunt. Other than that, other participants also expressed their own opinions towards this event which most of them felt was fun as they were playing the game at the same time learning something new.
In conclusion, such an English E-Treasure Hunt can be held frequently as it may help students to learn English since most of the students do not like to learn things rigidity. Therefore, through this event, students not only can learn English, but also learn how to cooperate with their teammate as it was carried out by a pair of students. Hence, students will be more interested in knowing new English words as well as phrases by participating in treasure hunts.
Smartwatch winners of the English E-Treasure Hunt: SMJK Keat Hwa
Runners-Up for English E-Treasure Hunt (Speakers): Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School