Published: October 17th 2011October 18th 2011
A happy time is when I can make a return visit to my family and friends in Florida, especially during the cold winter months of Taizhou, Jiangsu. My young and curious Chinese students often ask me questions about Miami and Miami Beach; many have heard of the two cities, though they think of the two cities as one.
They recognize Miami mostly because of their love for basketball, the NBA and the Miami Heat; and of course, their favorite players are Wade, James, and Bosh. Their faces light up, when they shout out the names of the Miami Heat stars to me.
Unfortunately, Chinese students' knowledge of world geography, and for that matter their knowlege about the world outside of China is limited, if not minimal. Chinese education offers "somewhat" restricted and controlled information to its students about world news and world affairs, in rather "passive" classrooms.
I have given many lectures to Chinese teachers on "Western Teaching Methods", and I have stressed the importance of questioning, imagination, initiative and creativity in the classrooms. It will take time and continued teacher training to incorporate these trends into the lesson planning of Chinese teachers, though there is some encouragement.
If such methods ever take hold, it would begin to take Chinese education-practices to a more productive and internationally competitive level. It would greatly benefit the students of China and therefore the development of China.
The Internet in China, though tightly government controlled, does begin to make a difference, since more and more students now own a computer or have access via "Internet-bars". But in these Internet-bars, movies and computer games are more the norm and more fun, than current-events or research.
Of course, FaceBook and other world social-sites are blocked, again limiting any outside contacts or outside influences. To substitute, Chinese social websites have been developed, but these only permit contacts within China, and do not reach into the outside world.
In our small teachers college we have no foreign students. But those foreign students, who come to study in other Chinese Universities, are offered only limited interaction with the Chinese students, though they may share "some" common classes, or be invited to "English Corners", or participate in "selected" extra curricular activies, such as sports. (Sadly, the foreign teachers too are exposed to limited information about campus activities by the various departments, other than being encouraged
to teach competent English.)
Native- and foreign student-interaction on campus or after classes is made difficult, perhaps even discouraged, since they are usually not permitted to share the same dormitories or live with each other in the same rooms.
The "abstract" study of the English language in Chinese schools is hightly stressed and is deemed important beginning with the first grade, but less the culture and traditions and the customs. And so, most Chinese students get their taste of "true" Western life and thought from western movies and TV shows, often pictured as violent cultures, compared to the "harmonious" Chinese society.
I hope, that as China's education-practices continue to reform, many misconceptions about each other will also be corrected. That would lead to greater "world-harmony".
I am glad to share these next 63 photos, in this 2nd part of my TravelBlog #137 about Florida, with my friends in China, who always ask me so many questions about my home in America. I am sure they will appreciate these photos of South Beach, its white and sandy beaches; the crisp, clean and clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and its friendly residents.
And I must say
About 7,000 Foreign Experts reside in the Province of Jiangsu. From these, 15 were selected. It was an honor to be selected as one of the 15 for the Year 2011.
All of the winners felt honored, and it was a happy and exciting evening. It offered me a chance to make some new friendships with some very special people, each contributing in a special way to the growth of Jiangsu.
this: That my lovely students here at Taizhou Teachers College give me a new reason every day, why I have spent these past 6 years in China.
With all of you, who follow my life in China, I also want to show some photos of a special event in my late-life adventure, here in Taizhou, China:
Last month, the Province of Jiangsu honored me, and with it my college - Taizhou Teachers College - with the "Jiangsu Friendship Award." From about seven thousand Foreign Experts in the Province of Jiangsu, only fifteen were selected for this honor.
I must thank EVERYONE at Taizhou Teachers College: My eager and lovely students; the dedicated staff and teachers; especially our college President, Mr. Xu and his new and enthusiastic replacement, Prof. Wen; my dear Friend Arthur Lee and the staff of our college's Foreign Affairs Office; and the City of Taizhou for making this honor possible.
They are ALL responsible for making my experience here in China so special, and their dedication inspires me every day, to continue with my small efforts to help make our small teachers college a more unique place for all who study, work
and walk its campus. It is THEY, who have made, and continue to make, these years at Taizhou Teachers College a daily joy.
So I dedicate this "Jiangsu Friendship Award" to all of them, and I thank them for their kindness and for making me feel part of a family and at home here. Each day I spend at Taizhou Teachers College and in the city of Taizhou continues to be a "unique" learning experience.
I have posted additional photos of the award-ceremony at the end of this TravelBlog entry. The banquet was held in the historic and beautiful city of Nanjing, the capital of the Province of Jiangsu.
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In the next TravelBlog entry I will be able to share some great photos of our new
Freshmen and their graduation from their compulsory military training.
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