Following our usual breakfast buffet, we headed to the Flying Tiger Museum, a short cab ride from our hotel. Most interesting snapshot of WW II history which we have all heard about, but knew little. The city of Kunming was the headquarters of the Flying Tigers, who were a volunteer group of U.S. flyers from August 1941 until July 1942 before they were integrated into the U. S. Air Force. The smallish museum was a remarkable salute to the Flying Tigers,
This afternoon we’re observers, rather than teachers, sitting in on a 4th grade and 1st grade class. Each class of approximately 60 students was well taught with great animation, participation and repetition. The kids were perfectly behaved – we couldn’t imagine an American classroom of that size being so orderly. Teaching methods were unlike anything we have ever experienced, but they work. The 4th graders sang “happy Birthday” – in Chinese – and gave all three volunteers small gifts! The temperature in each class room was probably in the low 40s, but children were well dressed for the coolness and the lively class participation seemed to negate any negative impact of the temperature.
The third afternoon period was split, part of the time spent observing the entire student body and teachers in the courtyard performing a choreographed dance scheme. We now understand the performances at the Beijing Olympics.The other half of the session was spent in dialogue with 8th and 9th grade students about sports, movies, family, Beijing Olympics, and Marco Polo.
The school visit finished with a “dumpling-cook off” – seeing whether Global Volunteers or English-teaching faculty could make better dumplings. The faculty easily won, however the Global Volunteers appeared to have the edge when it came to consumption of said dumplings. The final event was the presentation of a delicious birthday cake for Jack with singing of Happy Birthday in both English and Chinese. This event was exceptionally well received.