Thursday, November 09, 2006

A look into the soul of a Chinese student

A good way to really get to know students here is by assigning them a writing assignment. The words just flow out onto the page and you start to think that maybe there is something going on inside those heads of theirs. When you communicate in broken English long enough, you begin to automatically think of your students as unintelligent or slow in the head. It's not something you intend to happen, it just shows how important language can be. So when they start writing, you begin to think that maybe they're interested in asking more than "Can you use chopsticks."

The Thursday before Halloween, I gave a cultural lecture about Halloween. This is a weekly lecture that the foreign teachers do on a rotating basis. It just happened that I had the honor of covering Halloween. Angelyn had a class at the same time, so she decided to bring her class over to listen to my wonderful lecture. For homework she asked them to write about three things that they learned from my lecture. Today was the next time that she had those students in class, and I proudly bring to you some of the things that were written about my Halloween lecture.

"When I came in the class of English Corner, I was moved by the strong atmosphere of studying English. There were so many people in the class, and the speaker speaked English very fluencly and loudly. The listener were swoon in the voice of the speaker. So I decided to improve my oral English. I though I would speak English fluency one day."
- Victor

"Last class we went to the English Corner with the teacher. It was a rewarding experience for me. The most interesting thing that day was the speaker told us the Halloween. In the middle of his speech he turned off all the lights, closed all the doors. Then it was dark in the classroom. He told us a story in a very low voice, some lovely but horror pictures on the screen. We all listened him very quietly, concentrated ourselves on his speech. Then he louded his voice which made many girls into screaming. I was also frightened by him. He turned on the lights and laughted. He just played a joke on us. I was terrified by him, but I think he is a lovely person. I love his speech and his joke."
- Ellen

"People throw eggs at someone's house. They also throw toilet paper. They throw it in a tree and it will unroll. Then throw it again and again. At last, the trees are covered with white paper. It looks so exciting and wonderful!"
- Amanda

"The most interesting thing I have heard is that people throw eggs and toilet papers at the tree. I don't understand why they do this. But I think it's wonderful!"
- Kasey

"Today a foreign teacher are giving a talk about Hollow day which I haven't heard of before. It's interesting and mysterious to me. But the professor said it's a common festivel in US, just like spring festivel in China. People are excited and carazy that day. The professor is humorous and lively. But there's still lots of things I can't understand. I think this is culture shock."
- David

And now, my favorite account of that night's lecture. I never get tired of reading it!

"The lecture is about 'all Hollow day'. Through the lecture I knew the special Day in America. And it is interesting and funny. When I walk into the classroom, I was shocked by the scene. There is so many students in the classroom. I can't stop my step. I choose a seat in a corner and sit down quietly. In the class, I have not said a word because I was attracted by the perfect pronunciation of the teacher. Good time always run away quickly. The class is over, but don't want to leave...
Through this class, I understand a lot of things. Firstly, I must improve my oral English because there is still a distance between the teacher and me. I can do better. Second, I must learn more about American culture. It can lead me to the way of succeed."
- Romeo

Romeo, oh Romeo. How true. The way of succeed is obviously through knowledge of American culture. Not. It does feel nice knowing that I can make people swoon and that my perfect pronunciation is captivating, though.


Neals in Nashville said...

Very, very interesting.

Ashley said...

Hi Brian! I am trying to do my Christmas cards, and I realized that I dont have a current address for you any more. Can you email me your address at my hotmail account? If you dont have that email, then email it to me at the University one. It is my first initial and my last name. No middle name. Jed and I are doing well. I hope you are enjoying yourself!!! We got to see Jesse not to long ago, and all of his pictures from China. I think he misses it a lot.