New Program and Just Living Life in China.

3-9-2014

I know it has been a while since I entered something in my journal. But, I have been very busy with lessons and I have been sick with Bronchitis. It is beginning to warm up now. The winter was a damp cold that chills your bones. The houses here have no insulation. Heating is confined to the master bedroom. So, trying to get yourself well from a cold is not easy. The most welcomed part of the day is climbing under the blankets and going to bed. The worst part of the day is having to climb out of your warm bed into the chilled air. Spring will be very welcomed to me when it finally arrives.

The new cinema opened in Ganyu. It has an American Theater feel to it. I went to see the second part of The Hobbit in 3-D. Cost: $5.50. Popcorn: $1.00. Nice!!! We did bring our own drinks and other goodies. In China, I will go to a restaurant and see people sleeping in booths, bringing in their own food and drinks, and basically taking up space. They have not figured out that an occupied seat with non-paying customers is not good business. Ha Ha. Oh, the movie was in English with Chinese subtitles.

I have been very busy teaching classes this week. In 9 days, I will have taught 32 classes. That is a heavier workload than we have had in the past. I enjoy being this busy. But, other teachers are beginning to grumble. I have begun a new English program since I have taught the first program to most of the classes. The second program is designed to continue the “confidence” training. But, it is also incorporating a listening element to get them used to various forms of English language. This is still a work in progress. But, the first class of the program has had really good results. I am still battling the students relying on their memorized responses to questions. So, in the class, I am showing them how silly and laughable it is when they speak that way. And, I am trying to instill in them that when a person asks them a questions, they are looking for answers and personal stories. Not a canned response that they can get from any student. For example:

  • When I ask a student to “tell me about your family”, the response I get is, “There are three people in my family: my mother, my father, and me”. That is all they offer unless I ask more questions. I tell them that they have offered me NO information. Nothing new is learned by that response. I ask them why I claim this. I get blank stares usually. I explain to them that I already know that they have a mother and a father. If they did not have parents, they would not be sitting there in class. Duh!!!. And, they need to expand their answers. Tell me what kind of work their parents do. Tell me what the ages of the family members are. If they have a brother or sister, what grade are they in. If they are in college, what are they studying. Those type of things.
  • When I ask them to tell me what their fathers do for work, most of them will tell me, “My father is a worker”. Again…NO information is provided with that answer. I have no idea if the father is building buildings, sweeping streets, is a mechanic.
  • When I ask them to tell me about Halloween or Spring Festival, they give me the canned responses. I then tell them to tell me about THEIR holiday experiences. They will tell some great stories at this point.

At the end of the class, most are getting another AH-Ha moment. They are beginning to understand what I am talking about. And, they seem pleased with themselves. It will be through future classes that I will know if they have understood what I am teaching them. I am pretty confident that they do. After being gone for nearly 2 months, they remembered the previous English program lessons I taught them. So, this should be no different. It will just takes practice. Which reverts back to my previous English program principle. Practice equals Confidence.

I am beginning to plan for my summer vacation trip. A friend and I will be going to Inner Mongolia or Mongolia in August. That is, if the price is affordable. I have contacted a tour company to begin developing a personalized tour of things we want to experience. We are not interested in dead people’s tombs, museums, and other tourist places. We are looking for the Mongolian lifestyle and culture experience. I hope we can accomplish this goal at a reasonable price.

I guess that is all I have for now. I am posting some videos to my blog over the next few days. It takes hours to upload videos, so it takes me time to get them posted to my blog. They are videos of the exercises the students do every day and of the primary school I teach at. I hope you will enjoy them. I think the videos make the China experience a little more real and understandable for you, versus just reading my journal entries and see some pictures.

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