The 4th World Baseball Softball Confederation U-12 Baseball World Cup began in Tainan on July 28 (Friday), and baseball fans from around the world filled the venues to cheer on their teams. The Tainan City Government teamed up with the FLOMO Education Foundation to set up a booth outside Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium and give fans the opportunity to take part in interactive, baseball English games. Spectators had a lot of fun playing the games, and fans from Australia, Mexico, and the United States said they thought the games were really entertaining.
The Tainan City Government’s Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) collaborated with the FLOMO Education Foundation to set up the booth prior to the games played by the Chinese Taipei national team during the 10-day competition. Instructors from the Fun English Program jointly run by the two organizations played games with the public to promote baseball English. The foundation also specially prepared large-scale gaming items. People who successfully hit designated targets with baseballs and spoke the corresponding English terms received the “Play Ball!” baseball English booklet published by the city government and an eco-friendly eraser provided by the FLOMO Education Foundation.
Many passers-by stopped in their tracks when they saw the large-scale gaming items, while young fans clamored to play the games over and over again. Even though some fans worried that they wouldn’t be able to speak the English words, they still courageously took on the challenge. Many ended up receiving prizes as well as learning the English terms for baseball positions such as “second baseman” or “shortstop.” A young Australian fan repeatedly tossed the baseball into the second baseman position, and it turned out it was because he plays as a second baseman. He happily posed for a photo with staff members after the game. A fan from Mexico who didn’t know English ended up teaching the instructors how to say “second baseman” in Spanish, resulting in a funny scene.
The OEASOL said it launched the “Let’s Play Baseball” series of activities in June in conjunction with the U-12 Baseball World Cup hosted by Tainan to provide city residents with free English-language learning resources on baseball terms. It also organized camps and community courses to teach practical baseball English to adults and children alike. The booth outside the stadium was one of the events, and was run in cooperation with the FLOMO Education Foundation, which has ample experience in English-language education. It offered English learning through baseball-themed games with the aim of helping spectators to learn baseball English while having fun and enjoying the competition. The integration of the activity with ballgames achieved the intended result of contextual learning.
FLOMO Education Foundation board member and FLOMO School Principal Tang Ya-hui said the interactive content offered by the booth took about one month’s time to design and prepare. The foundation not only crafted a large-scale pinball machine, but also prepared the FLOMO Baseball Stadium baseball-throwing activities that integrated English baseball terms into games to allow spectators to learn English through games. Teachers Chen Bing-jia and Huang Guan-jie, who participated in the planning of the activities, and staff members all said, “Even though we couldn’t watch the games inside the stadium because we had to man the booth and interact with the public, it was very satisfying to see so many people playing the games and speaking English. Even foreign fans had a lot of fun playing the games.”
The OEASOL said the public will have the opportunity to play the interactive games during the next several days of the competition, and it will continue to hand out a variety of souvenirs including baseball English booklets and eco-friendly erasers. It welcomes everyone to go to the booth to play baseball and learn English, as well as cheer on the Chinese Taipei national team.