Teaching teachers English 4

YONGSHUN, HUNAN — I have participated in who-knows how many teacher workshops, training sessions and in-service days during 25 years of teaching. Last week, I approached the task from a new angle — as an in-service teacher — and it went better than I expected. Several weeks ago, my foreign affairs officer, Cyril, asked me if I was going to be around during the summer. The Xiangxi Prefecture foreign experts bureau (the people who hand out our teaching licenses) was organizing a one-week oral English workshop for local middle school teachers. The job actually sounded like fun, although the pay was also decent, so I agreed to do it. I was joined by Michael, an American teaching in the Foreign Language College in Zhangjiajie. Our duties were to teach pronunciation and intonation, useful expressions, and the differences between American and British English. Michael took the expressions assignment, and I did the nitty-gritty pronunciation/intonation tasks. Our students were 37 teachers from Yongshun, Huayuan, Luxi, Baojing, Fenghuang and Jishou — all counties or cities in the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. Most were between the ages of 24 and 40 and, I am happy to report, had really good English speaking ...

The freshmen arrive at Jishou University

Cross-posted at The Daily Kos and rescued! That’s two diary rescues in a row. JISHOU, HUNAN, CHINA — Last time I wrote a diary for Teacher’s Lounge, I introduced myself and my experiences of teaching English in China for this past year. This time, I’d like to introduce you to my freshmen and give you some sense of their lives here. We have just come back from an eight-day break for the National Holiday and Mid-Autumn Festival. The freshmen have started their classes, which means we faculty suddenly have many more classes to teach. My own courseload just doubled, in fact. Chinese universities reverse the order in which students arrive at school, compared to the US norm. Here, the returning students arrive first, and begin classes right away. Then, two weeks later the freshmen arrive. Their orientation is generally brief and utilitarian — there’s none of those open houses and parties that are a major part of American Freshmen Orientation Weeks. All freshmen are also required to have military training; in Jishou University’s case, they had 10 days’ training between arrival and the National Holiday. JiDa’s 4,000 freshmen arrived on a dreary, rainy weekend, beginning with the first trains at ...
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