Ready for the “Adventure of a Lifetime?” I recommend Kunming, China with Global Volunteers! Working with the English teachers in the Kunming Global Volunteers program last year reminded me of the time very many years ago when I was a student teacher and a first and second year teacher. My teaching partner, Dr. Martin Choy, had participated in this program the previous summer, so I relied on his guidance and expertise in organizing and planning our lessons. Martin insisted that we develop activities that would help both the very advanced young teachers in our class at the same time we designed activities that would help those whose English proficiency was at a somewhat lesser level.

Having been to China several times over the last twenty-five years and seen the progress that the country has made, one of the biggest surprises for me was noticing that as we took our break in the lessons each day, the cell phones came out in full force.

English language instruction is required for all students in China from kindergarten to high school. Naturally given China’s present population, there are not enough trained teachers of English to accomplish this goal, and add to that class sizes of between 40 and 60 students per class in some schools. This Global Volunteers program is designed so that Chinese teachers of English hear English spoken by native speakers as well as to
have Chinese teachers of English interact with us.

Most young Chinese college graduates who major in English have excellent written and grammar skills. What they need is the English language spoken by native speakers. Our program included three hour seminars in the morning and several afternoon general sessions. One of our afternoon sessions included a field trip to a memorial that recognized the contributions of the American pilots from World War II. Since the government has mandated that English language instruction be given from pre-Kindergarten on there is a shortage of teachers in the primary grades. Our Global Volunteers colleagues who had experience in elementary schools provided memorable lessons for the teachers of younger children. While I had 36 years of experience as a high school social studies teacher teaching experience is a plus but not required. Our program coordinator, Hu Di provided us with superior training and “team building”. The program provided us with a series of outstanding strategies and teaching suggestions. I plan to do the Kunming program again this summer!
– Maureen Tracy, “Encore” volunteer
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