Novel Coronavirus — March 8, 2021 Update: Explore Scouts Canada’s actions as we continue to follow the direction of government and health agencies in maintaining public health. View recommendations and stay informed here.

Language Treasure Hunt

There are many children that will move to a new country and have no sense of language spoken in this foreign place. Learn a bit about what it’s like to move to a new place where you do not speak the language and learn the value of shared language in education.

Back to Activity Finder

Plan

  • Who can I reach out to for help with different languages? 
  • Which places/tasks should we decide on before the activity begins? 
  • Do I have all my materials ready before the adventure?  

Do

  • Consider the people in your group. Can anyone speak additional languages that most of the group does not speak 
  • Gather these individuals for their help before the activity. Ask this group to make some signposts in different languages with common places such as school, pharmacy, grocery store, doctor, bus, library, police station, etc. Have that group of people position themselves around the room holding the signs. Ask them to speak in their language throughout this activity.  

While this is taking place, the rest of the group should think about: What would it be like if we found ourselves in a country whose language, we did not understand at all?  

  • Now, you will be asked to compete some simple tasks, similar to those that a newly arrived immigrant or refugee might need to complete. For example:
    • Go to the supermarket and buy bread. 
    • Go to the pharmacy and buy cough medicine. 
    • You are sick, go to the doctor and explain what is wrong. 
  • You can either have a prompt for each person, or you can work in small groups. 
  • If there are no participants that speak another language, ask for help from parents or other Scouters that might.  

Review

  • Did you complete your task?  
  • How did it feel having to find your way without being able to communicate within your language?  
  • Do you think it is important that people new to Canada receive help and English language education?   
  • What languages do you learn at school and consider what languages you would like to learn at school? 

Materials

  • Paper 
  • Markers 
  • World map  

Keep it Simple

  • In the event you have no one in the group that speaks another language, you could place different regions on a world map and create a graph of where different languages are spoken around the world. Then use this graph as a discussion piece for how many people may come to a school in Canada and not be able to speak English.  
  • You could also try Get that Lingo to learn new languages – it may be helpful in the planning stage. 

Take it Further

To further understand the importance of quality education, raise the discussion. Why do you think that immigrants and refugees might find it difficult to learn the language of the country they have moved to? How can you help someone who has just moved to your area?