Thought for the day:
We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. – Marian Wright Edelman
We’re at the halfway point in the 2-week program of teaching conversational English, as Global Volunteers.
We, and the Chinese teachers of English who have come to Kunming for this Continuing Education Program, have the weekend to rest and resume personal lives. We can also reflect on why we and they are here, and what we and they can expect to accomplish.
These Primary and Middle School teachers have jumped into a new realm of active learning. They have experienced a week of new and very foreign approaches to American English pronunciation, Educational Philosophy, and the joyful rhythmical games, songs and dances that might help motivate young Learners of English.
This morning, in my classroom, the Chinese teachers were talking about a way they might adapt the chant, “Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar” as a vehicle for teaching English vocabulary. Good for them! Whether they can use the techniques and materials at all, or adapt some of them for the culture of Chinese schools, doesn’t matter. “Waging peace, one person at a time, ” our energy is directed to making small daily differences, whether that is a game, a song, or a smile exchanged.
How is our team of 11 doing? After teaching 5 3-hour classes, presenting 2 afternoons of powerpoint talks, and playing games, singing and dancing for 1 afternoon, our collective energy is low.
But we plan to enjoy every moment in beautiful Yunnan. One of our members is walking and biking in Dali, North of here, for the weekend. Others are staying local, surveying choices of visiting the Kunming City Museum, or walking around the Yunnan Nationalities Park, the Golden Temple, the Wild Animal Park, and Green Lake Park. Our very excellent local host from Kunming University, Li Baokun, has planned a Sunday outing for us to Fuxien Hu, the deepest lake in Yunnan, which is located South of Kunming.
When we return to the classroom Monday, we will step again in small ways, making small differences, that may lead to a bigger difference that no one can foresee.