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Published: December 9th 2012
Putting away the dishes this morning whilst waiting for my kettle to boil water for the pot of tea that is MANDATORY to start the day I had to break up the ice on the dish draining rack. Hmmm, yes it was cold overnight. I keep the window open a little in there and door closed to the rest of the apartment, but there is a radiator heater in there to take the chill off things, thank goodness the red wine may have frozen otherwise.
English corner today and then lunch with Howard from Australia and 4 young Chinese guys.
The top today was 0C but around midday today it was really cold, enough to freeze any water drops being dripped from the buckets being dragged up from the springs, into little icicles along the stone edges. Pretty as a picture, although my camera hates the cold and refuses to cooperate until I warm up the batteries.
One young man came along to my little group today who was in his last year at high school. Almost flawless English, but such an in-depth education is taught in his Art Stream at his high school.
He attends Shandong No 1 Experimental High School which is a public school but as the name suggests the latest and best ideas are tried at these schools first. To get into this school requires a really good mark on your junior school examination.
He has many foreign teachers for conversational English, could converse in depth about how economic policies dictate the type of governance of countries, as well as discussing the literature styles of a Russian author who wrote Lolita, and Mo Yan the latest Nobel writer for Literature who comes from this province in China.
He also knew a lot about western music and we spoke about Bono, Marilyn Manson, Eminen, Adele. Yes this is not your typical 17 year old in China, I felt quite inadequate in many subject areas compared to him.
Lunch today again touched on religion, with the educated people in China extremely curious about Christianity and its beliefs. Other world religions such as Islam and Juddaism are relatively unknown and today we talked about how the Old Testament was a shared book amongst them. Even though there are many Muslim people in Jinan with an Islamic restaurant
Love these places where the pictures make it so easy to order
on every street and people wearing obvious hijab, the Chinese only talk about these as the minority people and know little about their religious beliefs.
At lunch we also talked about tattoos and facial hair (yes conversation does get diverse) and the attitudes towards them East & West.
People watching while having my latte in McD today I watched the 1 child with the parents.
I have never EVER seen 1 with a dummy (pacifier) in Jinan, with only the very odd one with a bottle; strollers are virtually nowhere to be seen. If you are under 1 you are held up high face height, not on your hip, and if you are over 1 you walk with your hand firmly held by a parent whether you like it or not.
Children comply and walk and trot along with so few tantrums.
My students have written quite a bit in their assignments about the 1 or 2 children in the kindergarten room who are naughty; that is only 2 out of 40. These children are reminded of how to behave constantly and gently corrected often and have their incorrect ways pointed out to
them. Not in a punitive way but more of a self-analysis fashion which the Chinese are very good at.
My students have also written about a few children exhibiting very autistic behaviour, but with a very prescriptive education system on the whole this would really favour those children in terms of expectations and routines.
I think we need a little of this model for young children in the west. 3 & 4 years old should have few choices in terms of behaviour in public or with groups of people. Some of the “children should be seen and not heard” should come back into fashion.
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