Thursday July 15, 2010

Thought for the Day: Tell me, I will forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I will understand. – Chinese Proverb

We again woke up to another wonderful Chinese Buffet Breakfast. I am always amazed at the variety of food we find and the many interesting names that accompany this food! We ate, conversed as usual about our many experiences here in China, and also our many opinions about just about every subject. This group is so interesting and knowledgeable about everything. At 8AM we all met downstairs at the white van and traveled to our teaching assignments.

Dick and I also are finding that the students are becoming more and more comfortable and confident to speak up in class and to ask many questions. We began today by reviewing questions from our “lectures” yesterday — Dick speaking on American History, Carol speaking on Special Education and Disabilities, and Bob speaking on Jewish History. We helped them if they needed clarification on information presented and answered some written questions. Then we began a discussion of our National Holiday — Thanksgiving — and the Chinese holiday of Spring Festival or the New Year. Dick and talked about some Thanksgiving customs and I put new vocabulary on the board. Then we went around the room asking each student to say a sentence or two about the Spring Festival and that was very interesting for us. Many students had some similar customs and then other students shared more unique experiences such as taking short trips, spending time with friends, or going to the Buddhist Temple to pray. Our next activity involved the World Map — a wonderful activity since it did not appear that the teachers had spent much time with maps. We brought all the students up around the map and then “quizzed” them on oceans, continents, countries, rivers, seas, etc. and they were very interesting. Again we put new vocabulary on the board. Next we put the letter “B” up on the board and with partners, the students wrote down as many words as possible beginning with that letter — I printed all the words on the board — we pronounced newer, more difficult words and often used them in sentences. I was amazed at the number of words they found. The students seem to really like working with one or two other people and then sharing with everyone what they find. Finally, Dick and I passed out a short Rober Frost poem (The Road Not Taken) which we hope to work more on tomorrow — we read this poem in unison and then tackled a few unfamiliar vocabulary words before finishing the class with the Hokey Pokey…they loved it.

Other Volunteers shared some of their Thursday teaching experiences at lunch — which included more “open-ended” questions, students being teachers, and lots of good conversation. JK even got a “headstart” on our afternoon entertainment by teaching his students both the Bunny Hop and the Macarena.

In the afternoon 5 of us again met at the van at 2PM and traveled back to the University to participate in both another lecture on Chinese overseas and some wonderful dances and songs. JK, Martin, and Kathy formed a panel and related such fascinating personal experiences as people coming from two cultures. The students stood up and asked questions as they had yesterday when the previous three Volunteers gave their presentations. Then we took a short break and walked back to our classroom building for another hour of the Bunny Hop and Macarena — and then we all sang “You are My Sunshine” and “This Land is Your Land”. I think it is safe to say that the whole event was a big success.

Finally, at 6PM we met outside the Hotel to walk 10 minutes to the Jordan’s Cafe…along the most interesting street I have seen in China. We walked through a “neighborhood” within a big city — a place where you could really find any consumer good necessary or have your pants shortened or buy your live chicken for dinner. I definitely want to walk along that road again, perhaps on Sunday, and take in more of the sights, sounds, and smells. I’m not sure how I can really describe this all to my friends at home — everything is so fascinating!

I am feeling tired at the end of this wonderful day and so happy to be involved with my new Volunteer Friends as well as my new Student Friends. I look forward to tomorrow and another whole set of possibilities…

– Carol

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