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Week two of our Duke Engage program has just ended, and it has been filled with many memorable moments. Everyone that is a part of the program, both in the United States and China, has done a great job of consistently communicating with the rest of the team. As a result, all of the struggles that took place during the first week have either been resolved or are still being figured out. Furthermore, all of the team members on our end are working together to find methods to enhance future class sessions, such as utilizing zoom polls, call-and-response songs, and props as teaching strategies. With this being said, I am equally excited for week three as I am pleased with the progress we made during week two.

One thing that proved beneficial this week was introducing the students to a list of classroom phrases, such as “I cannot hear you,” to help us communicate with each other more clearly. Reviewing phrases such as this allowed the students to feel more comfortable while speaking, which was one of the struggles in week one. Also, the teachers from the schools informed us that we should make a conscious effort to speak slower. This simple piece of advice slipped our minds as people who have spoken English for most, if not all, of our lives; it also significantly helped improve class participation. Furthermore, we also received copies of the students’ textbooks along with the themes we will discuss in future lessons. This new information allowed us to look forward to what is to come and gave us a better feel for what we will be teaching this summer.

During this week, I also showed the students some new tools to make the classroom more interactive. My favorite of these was the annotation tool while screen sharing a whiteboard. We used this so that the students could draw the ideas they were describing to the rest of the class. I found this strategy especially useful when working with the younger children who enjoy being able to see a story or instructions as they are being told. As a team, we also discussed launching zoom polls and using props within our lessons. I am particularly excited about the zoom polls because they can be created during our lesson planning sessions to receive quick feedback from students in a light-hearted manner. With week two ending, I am excited to see where learning takes us next.