post-birthday, pre-Halloween update

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October 19th 2009
Published: October 19th 2009
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Hey all,

Just finished my second Monday of teaching, and it feels pretty good. Seems as if the students like me, and are willing to get more engaged in class. These Chinese students are, by their own admission, too timid to speak out loud and practice their English, because the typical Chinese classroom is relatively non-participatory. I'm going to consider it a job well done if I get them to like to speak to each other and me in class. I don't feel like being a hard-ass to them. I'm sure they get enough of that in their civil engineering and architecture classes.

Today, after the main lessons ("Last week, we practiced how to introduce each other. Now, we'll practice introducing our country..."), for the last 5-10 minutes in each class, we played Simon Says. Great way to teach them new words (for body parts and verb-actions), warm them up to me, and trick them into an active listening practice session.
In the more advanced class (which I still have no book for), we also discussed what makes a good and bad student and what makes a good and bad university. On a whim, I wrote on the board, "Opportunity or Obligation?", taught them bought words, then had them discuss with each other and me whether going to college was an opportunity or obligation. Great conversation, actually, one student stood up and said the only reason he and his classmates were in college was because they all weren't brave enough to make their own paths, and accosted his peers for being to timid to speak English in class, that they all should be more active in improving themselves. Damn. Good classes today.

Next week, under the guise of finishing our discussion about introducing country and culture, I'll begin classes with a presentation on Halloween, and also probably work in some in-class dialogue exercise relating to Trick-or-Treating. Teaching is fun!

Also, went to the Panda Research Center just outside of town on Saturday with the Int'l Student Department at Sichuan University, which organized the trip for us foreign students. Once I got over how sad it was to see large animals in small enclosures, I enjoyed it. Tried to upload all the pictures both last night and tonight, but the internet has been shoddy at best, so I only have a few (missing all my "people taking pictures" pictures and the photos of the Red Pandas). But here they are:

More stories I could tell, but wouldn't know what to select. Midterms begin next week, so another travel journal post is unlikely during the next small stretch of time. However, I'll still be quite available via e-mail, so no worries about contacting me!



19th October 2009

proud of you
Congrats professor, I'm impressed that you are getting students to loosen up and feel comfortable speaking up in class. The first few days are awkward in any environment.
21st October 2009

Professor Rabens
Sounds like you are doing a greta job of teaching. You are making a positive imprint on every one of those students, quite a powerful thing. A big pat on the back from Dad. miss you kiddo. ASU beat Washington Saturday on a last second touchdown pass......go Devils !!!!!!!
4th November 2009

Some lines from Sweden
Hi Tye! We have got information about you from your grandfather Bob and grandmother Emily and we know that they are very proud of you. They have told us so much about you and we are very impressed about what you are doing in China. We have never been visiting China but have spent time in lot of parts of Vietnam. Not too far from China. Last year your grandparents visited us and we had a very nice time together. You maybe know we also visited them earlier and also your own family and Kim and Beth. We are sorry we did not meet you at that time but we hope to go "over there" again and maybe we can see you too. We wish you the very best and take care. Christian and Gunilla Reuithe in Sweden

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