Chinese Teaching Objective Passed!

19 Sep

Three Cheers!  Woohoo! Yay! 

Oops, sorry I got a little carried away – I’m teaching my students about leading by being the team’s cheerleader and got a little caught up in the chanting and cheering 😛

I recently accomplished a great triumph in my classroom here in China – a student raised her hand and asked me to repeat myself.  

Yes, you heard that right. . . she raised her hand and spoke in class.  (wipes away a tear) I’m just so proud.  

One of the cultural differences I’ve found here in China as a teacher is that students respect their teachers almost to the point of worship.  It’s both self-confidence-inspiring and terrifying.  They have a general fear of speaking in front of other students due to the risk of sounding like an idiot (one I’m sure students around the world share), a problem compounded by their culturally-specific fear of asking the teacher a question. I rather suspect they expect the event to go something like this:

**************

S: Teacher, I am so incredibly sorry, and I know it’s my fault, you are oh so wise. But I’m utterly lost.

Me:  Shock! Gasp! Horror! You are telling me I (a foreigner from a strange land speaking your third language) didn’t explain the concept of Kantian ethics precisely the first time for you to immediately grasp all nuances?  How dare you!  Fiend! Horrible creature!  Someone call the class monitor and have this child fed to wolves immediately!

Class Monitor:  Off with his head!

Classmates:  Bwahahahahahaha, what a fool!

***************

And so forth.

After asking around, I have learned my students tend to enter my care with the belief that to suggest they don’t understand is to suggest that:

  1. I have failed as a teacher (to which I will take great offence)

  2. They were completely failing to pay attention (to which I will take great offence)

  3. They are total idiots for not grasping it all immediately (to which I will take great offence).  

While it makes for a swiftly moving class (I may go two+ weeks without a single question), it sort of deprives me of assessment capabilities for knowing whether or not my students actually get what we are talking about.  Until now, I have been relying on homework and group assignments.  

Imaging then my excitement when sweet Sarah raised her hand and asked me to re-explain a concept.  I was so proud of her that I told the entire class to look at her as an example of leadership.  So proud! 

One teaching objective, totally in the bag.

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