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I can’t believe we’re halfway to the end of our time with the students! I’m continuing to be amazed and amused by them. For example, this week, we showed one class a picture of basketball, and asked them what sport it was, and one student immediately yelled “Quidditch!”.

We’ve also been asked to reflect on our past/family histories, and how these have shaped our lives and our outlooks on education.

I think that a lot of things I’ve done in the past have rewarded or encouraged an ability to study and remember instructions, and then carefully and precisely follow a procedure or solve similar types of problems over and over again. Teaching through DukeEngage has been different because we’re learning how to teach as we go—the best way to improve at teaching kids over zoom is to actually do it and reassess afterwards. Also, repeating things over and over again, exactly the same way each time, isn’t helpful—the best opportunities for learning are the unexpected moments and interactions with students, which are different every class. Asking the kids about their lives, learning more about how they think, getting them laughing, and gaining their trust, are the most powerful things.

I’m trying to continue learning from and adapting to each of the groups. Some classes are much livelier than others, and we’re starting to remember and adjust to the energy levels of each individual class. Overall, especially as our time is running out, I think I sometimes feel a little pressured to get through the entire lesson plan. When there are awkward silences or hesitation, I feel like I need to jump in right away and push ahead. As we move forward, I’ll try to remember that our goals aren’t necessarily to cram as much English vocabulary into our students’ heads as possible, but to encourage them, to get them more confident in their abilities, and most importantly, to show them how learning can open up exciting new worlds.

I had my Baobao Ban kids act out and mime different sports, and they had a really great time. Some of them even went around their houses and found items like basketballs and badminton racquets. I’m excited to show them my dog next week, since we are talking about animals.