Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hodge Podge of a Day

Successful Lesson Plan
(even though there were only 5 students)

Last week we studied Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman's "A New England Nun" about an American woman who waited 14 years for her fiancee to return from making his fortune. Then today the students read a short story by a Chinese author Xinran who wrote the book The Good Women in China. We read the story "The Woman who Waited 45 years." I wanted to compare the two women who both were waiting for their fiancees to return.

I taught the story about the American woman and the students taught the story about the Chinese woman. It was the first time the students didn't stop for their 10 minute break instead they continued reading even after I said, "Time for break."

Then when the students became the teacher, it was the first time in the past 8 weeks that every student opened their mouths to answer the student teacher's questions. It was the first time that students volunteered information as I became a student learning about Chinese history and culture from the time period of 1946-1976. It was the most lively discussion we have ever had in the classroom.

I have learned that if I ever teach an English short story class again, I will teach stories in pairs, a western one and a Chinese one, comparing the differences and similarities between the two stories that share a similar universal theme.

Student's Question

During today's break, a student asked me, "Why do you wear boy clothes?"

I answered, "I like clothes that are of a single dark color and in China these types of colors are typically associated with males. I don't like a lot of color, prints, or decorations. Americans often like simple styles rather than flashy, doesn't necessarily mean that they are male clothes. I do like feminine clothes like skirts and sun dresses but often my feminine clothes are ethnic, styles from Africa. Also, in China I feel like feminine clothes won't fit me because I have broad shoulders."

The student commented, "Your dresses and skirts are too long."

I started wondering, hmm... in America I often do dress pretty masculine even for America, but wouldn't you say that American women dress more Chinese masculine than Chinese feminine? If we remember the 2008 Olympics, the American athletes, male and female both wore the same khaki pants and dark blue blazers.

I think in America there is less of a divide between masculine and feminine styles compared to China? Or have I forgotten what American fashion is like? In America are we as gender specific with fashion compared to China?


The one thing I despise about eating noodles in the restaurants surrounding the university is there are no vegetables nor meat in the mix. You might get a teaspoon of ground meat, a spoonful of egg and vegetables. You will get plenty of oil and red pepper though. Blech. Noodles and oil is not what I call nutritious.

Today during the 10 minute break in the 2 hour lesson, I asked the students, "What should I have for lunch today?"
They answered, "NOODLES."
I answered, "What kind?"
They then went through about 10 different noodles dishes and I told them I want the noodle dish with the most vegetables.
Their instant reply was, "Cai gai mian 菜盖面. You can order it in the Muslim cafeteria."

Around 12:30 after the crowds of students had finished eating, I went to the Muslim cafeteria and ordered. Out came a plate of freshly made linguine type of noodles and the worker asked me which vegetables I wanted. I pointed to the various trays of Chinese food all made from vegetables- battered fried eggplant, stir-fried celery, stir-fried mushrooms, ma pa tofu, and green onions.

I got my wish, a plate full of noodles covered with vegetables instead of oil.


alison said...

I don't think American are as gender-specific with clothes. From what I observed, there is still a huge trend toward high fashion clothing in China, stemming from women in the 60s/70s forced to wear Mao suits. Women in American were never forced to wear a certain type of clothing, so maybe we feel more comfortable with plainer clothes? At least I do!

Dr. Jen said...

Did your students ever comment on the way you or Nick dressed?