Tuesday September 21, 2010

Today, we were scheduled to teach the Uighur students. The college has had students from Xin Jiang but this year over 100 enrolled. We had been told that they had little English. We discussed how to change the lessons for them and we were worried that what we were planning might not work. Marcella, Wally, and Claudia speak Chinese so they had an advantage, but Tony and I would have to rely on body language and enthusiasm to get the lessons across. I had studied the geography of Xin Jiang ahead of time and drew a map of China on the board so that the students could find their home towns. We began with introductions. While it was clear that their English was limited, they more than made up for it by being attentive, eager, and happy to try the sentences we were teaching them. It turns out that all but two students came from Kashi, Xin Jiang. We went on to colors and clothing and they began to smile and talked more naturally. They have less trouble with “th” but “w” was difficult. We marched on to names of parts of the body and the hokey pokey. We ended with counting, American money (with all the different presidents) and family pictures. Wally worked one side of the room and I worked the other making sure that the students knew what to say before they stood up to speak in front of the whole class. They have such a positive attitude and they will pick up English very quickly. Marcella, Tony and Claudia reported that their students were quite lively and that their English was much better than expected. They had a wonderful time with them and we all felt we would be happy to teach them again.

After lunch, we headed out to the jade shop to buy some presents for family and friends. Our taxi driver had a hard time finding the place but we finally joined the others. Then we all went to our favorite shop – Ren Ren Le to buy moon cakes, cupcakes, cookies, oranges and nuts for tomorrow. We have invited Julia Dong, the head English teacher, and Mr. Robinson Liu, the college President for tea and lunch. Tomorrow is Autumn Festival and classes are cancelled. We are looking forward to having time to talk about teaching and their plans for the college.

For dinner, we decided to escape the hotel dining room. Three of us ended up at A Small World Cafe for some western food including French fries. Two of us ate at Chengdu and had Sechzuan food with numbing peppers.

– Maggie

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