Wednesday September 15, 2010

In spite of a long discussion about teaching topics at breakfast, we were able to depart on time and arrived early at XBTC. During our ride, Swallow related information about the construction industry. Her father’s company hires workers from Shanxi and surrounding provinces. Workers stay in rooms, often in temporary buildings resembling dormitories, at the construction site. Oversight of the workers needs and “care” is relegated to an on-site manager.

Off to class where some of the volunteers had the same students as last week while others, including me, had new students. Marcella and Tony team-taught and laughter and singing from their group confirmed their successful enterprise. Maggie reported that in addition to her talented students from last week medical secretarial students joined her class. A dialogue about making an appointment to see the doctor was a highlighted activity. My class of 11 men and 1 woman told me they were 2nd year medical instrument students. One young man with an engaging smile confirmed that indeed he had been in my class last year. How nice to see progress in his performance. After a standard set of questions and dialogues to assess listening comprehension and speaking ability, we reviewed vowel sounds and the most troublesome consonants. “We want to do something more difficult.” said 2 students. In response to my question about a text, one student entered the stacks and located a book with some useful information. These students will learn to operate and fix instruments but will not interact with patients. I asked them for some appropriate vocabulary and they responded with ECG, current, battery and circuit. Ah, ha! They will be working with electronics. Not my forte. Although it was pretty basic, we managed to discuss, in English, wave energy, wave length, amplitude, various meters, and oscilloscopes. To lighten things up a bit after such a difficult topic, we talked about sports and one student gave a Tai Chi demonstration. We also sang “It’s a small World” and took pictures.

Julia, Swallow, Fisher and Diana accompanied us to lunch and we enjoyed a lamb and glass noodle soup, several well prepared vegetable dishes and bread with a tangy relish. Just as we thought we were finished, 2 more plates piled high with spicy goodies arrived. After a brief rest period, we were off to our afternoon classes. The young women in the nutrition class, although not as advanced as the morning class, were enthusiastic and wrote creative dialogues about “good foods”. We also used a table in the text to review the role of vitamins and problems related to deficiency diseases. I think, however, that I disappointed them by not knowing a Michael Jackson song but they sang a Chinese folk song for me.

On the way back to the hotel, Mr Zhao again demonstrated creative driving maneuvers. Dinner included jiaozi, crispy pigeon, mushu pork with pancakes and finished with apples which were gifts from students and teachers. Maggie and Wally are nursing colds so they turned in early. No adventure this evening.


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