Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Project

To friends and family,

If you are interested in seeing a few low resolution pictures from my most recent trip to Kaifeng, Henan, the yellow river, the mountains above Shaolin Temple, the Taihang mountains, please send me an email. Since I am still travelling and am using internet bars, I am having trouble loading pictures to a web photo album.

Summer project is going well.

We have finished one week of teaching middle school English teachers. Our objective, requested by the Chinese organizers was to help improve their confidence in speaking English; however, we changed it a bit as we met our students and learned what our students wanted: teaching methods, pronunciation, and American culture.

I think the weakness of the summer project is the large number of unknowns: number of students, students' English level, and what they want to learn from us. We fly by the seat of our pants and cannot really prepare very well for it in advance.

We are a bit exhausted not used to teaching a 40-50 hour week compared to our university work week of 12-20 hours.

Tomorrow we start a new week with new teachers. These teachers will be primary school teachers. We are back to the world of unknowns. What is their English level? We have heard that many of the teachers are not college educated. What do the students want to learn? Their English level will determine whether or not we can meet their requests. It would be really hard to have discussions about teaching ideas and methods if we can't communicate.

Anyways, the unknowns will be known tomorrow and we have a 3 hour lunch break to throw something together as we learn more.

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