Friday, September 07, 2007

One week down

First week of teaching is finished. I think it went fairly well considering a couple SNAFUs. We're still finalizing a new plan for the PhD students after some minor concerns from the academic affairs department, but it should be fine by Monday or so.

It's been like pulling teeth to get my students to talk during the first half of class. At least I've managed to get them all going by the second half. It would be nice if they all had better English skills, but I'll settle for the decent effort they're making for now.

I had my small PhD class today. Most of them attended the master's program at the same university and have passed a similar English class (hence we're changing the curriculum). Fortunately, only four of them have previously studied the book we're using (but they could use a little review). I did get a little shock from one student--I asked, "Why is writing in English important?" He responded with, "I don't think it's important." I asked him to explain his answer and support it. He did, and with some impressive English skills at that. However, after the first half of class in which I talked about the writing process, he was a little more open to learning. He came to me during the break to say that my lesson interested him. Great, I'm all for compliments on the first day.

Some interesting answers to questions: "Why are you studying this subject?" "To get a girlfriend." "Why do you say Qingdao is a beautiful city." "Because it has Tsingtao beer."

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