TeenEagle is all about language competition. From the Global Finals to our preliminary Online Rounds, we emphasize the mastery of language skills. Our Persuasive Speaking and Writing Challenge events showcase how students can present their language proficiency, while our Spelling Bee lays a foundation for resource application. But how do our Online Rounds, the first step on the TeenEagle journey, align with this language focus?
The Online Round is a multiple-choice quiz comprising sixty questions, with a minute allotted for each. It’s no easy task, and the cognitive demands can be overwhelming. Even knowing how to approach multiple-choice questions is a skill that needs to be developed. And while the youngest participants might be familiar with the format, our oldest students know how confusing it can get.
We design our question formats to help students develop critical thinking skills, such as exclusion. When students eliminate obviously incorrect answers, they’re practicing a form of critical thinking that we want them to hone. But it’s not just critical thinking that our Online Round demands. It also requires strong language skills.
With four tiers of questions — what, why, how, and meta-language — the questions become progressively more challenging. The what-stem questions are straightforward, but the why-stem and how-stem require a deeper level of understanding. As we base our questions on the yearly book and film choices, participants must have a sufficient language level to comprehend the nuances and implications of these resources. We also draw attention to unusual or figurative language in these resources to enhance their language skills.
By completing the Online Round, students gain a deeper understanding of the resources and develop the skills needed to apply the language found in them. They can write an essay about a character’s motivation or use a phrasal verb in a speech, all because they have gained a deeper comprehension of language. We challenge students to push the limits of their language experience through a combination of task demand and task support. By making the Online Round reading-only, we limit the experience to receptive language only, making it more accessible to all.
The Online Round is just the beginning of the TeenEagle journey, where students learn the language of competition by interacting with resources, be it in the classroom or on their own. By preparing and practicing their understanding, they develop the skills needed to apply their knowledge in productive language. And with TeenEagle, students not only have fun but also get to travel the world and meet new people. We show that learning a new language is a few feathers away from mastering it.