Friday, March 16, 2012

Different Sites- Different Opportunities

After teaching in Gansu for 3 years, teaching in Chengdu is pretty much the same except:

1.  Because the city students have access to Internet in their dorms and often have at least one computer that is shared amongst 4-6 roommates, the students like to send me email.  This is new and some of the more shy students feel more comfortable communicating through written English which I hope will lead to them being more confident to use their spoken English in class.

2.  In Gansu, I did not hold office hours but went to the English Library and Community Center for 2 hours, 6 days a week.  Because I currently don't live on the countryside campus where my students live, I hold office hours once a week when I stay overnight at the other campus.  Thursday evening about 20 students came to my office hours which is a bit much.  I cannot give individual attention to everyone.  I spent about 30 minutes having 4 minute private conversations with students and then walked around to join in the conversations that different groups were having.  My Chengdu students do find the value of speaking with each other in English compared to my Gansu students who often felt they could only improve their English by speaking with a native speaker.

3.  More students have the opportunity to go abroad at my 3 year Chengdu college.  I know 3 students who are going to America, one for graduate school and two for a work and travel summer program.  They will work at KFC for a couple of months and then use the money that they earned to travel around.  Also, students are having interviews to work in Dubai.

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