Cobb Adult Education Center Students Explore Other Cultures, Expand Literacy Skills in Escape Room Challenge

On September 7, students at the Adult Education Center participate in an escape room challenge in celebration of International Literacy Day. GED students teamed up with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students to tackle literacy challenges across five regions: North America, South America, Central America, Europe/Asia, and Africa/Caribbean.

“Locked” in a classroom inside the Adult Education Center, students worked against the clock to escape the room by translating the secret combination written in Russian, Japanese, and Hindi. Down the hall, a different group of students tried to identify a variety of foods from South America before the students in another classroom could master an African dance and escape their classroom.

In celebration of International Literacy Day, the Adult Education Center staff transformed five classrooms into escape rooms, an increasingly popular game in which players solve a series of puzzles using clues to complete a challenge. GED students teamed up with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students to tackle literacy challenges across five regions: North America, South America, Central America, Europe/Asia, and Africa/Caribbean.

“They learned the different forms of literacy across the different cultures around the world,” said Maketo Moore, ESOL coordinator for the Adult Education Center. “They had a written literacy challenge. They had a spoken literacy challenge. They learned words, customs, and cultures that they hadn’t been exposed to before.”

GED and ESOL students do not normally interact in the classroom because levels of proficiency normally separate the students. That was not the case for the escape room challenge. With different cultures and skill levels, more than 70 students worked as teams to complete the literacy challenges.

“They had to work with people they have never met before to complete the challenges,” Moore added.

Over his almost two decades working at the Adult Education Center, Moore has seen thousands of ESOL students walk through the doors. For him, the smiles, hugs, and words of appreciation make his job very rewarding. He has also gathered a lot of student success stories through the years.

One of those successes is Alcairis De La Cruz, who was once an Adult Education Center student herself. She graduated, and now works as the student services clerk for the ESOL office.

“It is amazing to be able to be there with the students,” De La Cruz explained. “Because I was a student, and when [the new students] come into the school, I can help them with the perspective that I have been sitting in their seats as a student.”

On World Literacy Day, the former ESOL student helped current students translate the escape room instructions. According to De La Cruz, the escape room challenge helped students with their vocabulary by allowing them to practice their English with students from other countries.

“I enjoyed it a lot because we learned about many different countries,” explained ESOL student Estela Miranda. “I’m so excited!”

Miranda, who was wearing a yellow and green Brazil shirt, especially liked learning about Africa and what women wear there.

Like De La Cruz and Moore, Miranda has developed a fondness for the Adult Education Center.

“I love this school. I love my teacher. She is fabulous. I have learned a lot here,” Miranda added.