Thursday, 18 September 2008

College Trips and Pen Tricks

Last night's college talk was not in fact a college fair but a presentation by some people from Brown and UPenn talking about the admissions process for international students and then talking about their schools. A lot of my students were there, and I know that most of them probably didn't understand a third of what was said. The women talking spoke a million miles an hour and made references to obscure things. It was interesting and informative...but only if you could understand. I asked my first class today if any of the students that went yesterday had questions about the talk. One student asked what "literature arts" were. He misheard "liberal arts". If he didn't even get that, how was he supposed to understand the 10 minutes that the woman randomly talked about Odysseus?

Hearing them talk about applying for colleges and why their schools were the best made me homesick for Drew so much. I had such an amazing time in college and I am very jealous of all my friends that are still in school.

I'm still having a lot of trouble with Class A. Today most of them didn't have their homework done and after working for about 10 minutes on what I assigned them to do, they just started chatting in Chinese. It's so frustrating. I've been reading my TESOL books and some online ESL resources for ideas.

It seems like all of my students have some at least basic ability with pen spinning. I've included a video I found of some pen spinning in case people don't know what I'm talking about. When I first noticed it I thought it meant the students weren't paying attention but now I realize that it's just a habit like tapping your foot. In an effort to connect with my students and to show them that I'm not afraid to look like an idiot while learning (in hopes to give them more confidence to not worry about looking like idiots if they made English mistakes), I've been asking them to show me how to do it. Wish me luck.


KuYu said...

Good luck.

There are many difference culture between China and foreign.

I think you should know them.

Micah said...

Hi Stephanie! The reason I ran across your blog was because I run the Shanghai Public Transportation weblog and use Google Blog Search to look for interesting blog posts about the bus, metro, taxi... and ran across one your posts about taking the subway.

You teach at Pinghe? How's the school? I've enjoyed reading about your class. I teach physics at SMIC, about 10 minutes south of Jinqiao by taxi (or 20 minutes on the 990 bus, heh), and live across the street from the school.

Cori said...

SO COOL!! Um you should put that on your resume once you learn it.. AND TEACH ME! Also hello :)

Casey said...

haha, the music is sooo intense for a habit similar to tapping your foot. i mean, i get it, but now i can help but giggle and think of a youtube video featuring people tapping their foot to power electric guitar solos.

Allison said...

holy smoly. that would be cool to add to your repertoire of tricks.

Stephanie in Shanghai said...

Casey,for the basic spin (over the thumb)it's more like a habit, but for the intense stuff that is in the video people practice for hours. I don't know if any of my students can do stuff like that video.

Micah Sittig said...

Sounds like par for the course! I hope you enjoy the rest of the year. If you want to visit another school, let me know when you're off and I'll give you a tour of SMIC.

I'm starting my sixth year in China, fifth year in Shanghai. I've only been teaching at this school for 2.5 years, but the current plan is to stick around for a while. Our school is organizing an ME program over the next two years for teachers who want an advanced degree in education, in cooperation with Oklahoma University (USA). I'm pretty excited about that.