Next week, the English Language Institute (ELI) will help international students take the English skills they are learning in the classroom a step further by hosting a Spelling Bee. The Fourth Annual Spelling Bee is for all levels of learners and will take place in Rudder 301 on Wednesday, April 15, at 6:00 pm.
The Spelling Bee is a way to bring the entire ELI together, no matter the individual student’s level or skill. The words the competitors will be spelling are academic words that they will actually use in their education.
ELI Lecturer Ginessa Payne says the Spelling Bee encourages students to take risks “because that’s what learning a new language is all about: opening your mouth, possibly making a mistake in front of others, but using it as a way to learn and improve.”
Of course, not every student likes that risk of failing and not every student likes competition, so the Bee will consist of about 20 competitors who meet two qualifications: they won the preliminary round to represent their class, and they want to participate in the competition. Not only does this system ensure that the top competitors make it to the actual competition on the 15th, but it also gives all ELI students the opportunity to practice competitive spelling. One student even said her favorite part of the Bee was the classroom competition.
In fact, most students who have attended past Bees said they enjoyed it, even the ones who did not compete. And every student polled in the last three years said their spelling has improved during their time at the ELI.
The word students most commonly use to describe past Bees is “fun,” and this year will be no different. ELI students are encouraged to bring their family, friends, classmates, neighbors, and anyone who wants to attend. Before the Bee begins, faculty members will demonstrate how the Spelling Bee works, using some of the hardest and most ridiculous words from past Scripp’s National Spelling Bees.
During the competition, the words will be written out on the screen behind the speller as they spell it. This will allow audience members to follow along more easily and help them improve their spelling as well. Students are encouraged to get involved on social media, as posts shared to the ELI Facebook page will be featured during the competition.
After the competition concludes and the winner is revealed, participants and audience members will be treated to a uniquely Texas treat. The Aggie Wranglers will perform a dance routine. The Aggie Wranglers is an exhibition country western dance team made up entirely of Texas A&M students. This performance will ensure that everyone attending the Spelling Bee will have a great time.
Since 1974, the ELI at Texas A&M University has been equipping international students with the English skills they need to share their knowledge and skills with the university and with the world.