Skip to main content

This week, I have particularly paid attention to the active engagement of students. In asking students basic conversation questions (e.g., “What is your name?”, “How are you doing?”, “What is your favorite color?”), we incorporated a pop-corn system. When some students did not understand the system, we observed the students facilitating the class by explaining to their classmates. Student L would tell her classmates “问个人, 问个人! 问一个问题! (Ask someone else, ask a question!).” In reading the restaurant dialogues, we would ask the students to act out as a waiter or a customer. We asked them questions after each slide to make sure they could comprehend the dialogue and go over new terminology. During the practice sessions focused on ordering food, a student said, “I don’t want a hamburger. It’s fat!” to which we led the conversation by asking, “If not a hamburger, then what do you want to get?” I realized asking questions is one of the most effective ways to continue the conversation.

During an introduction session, a student would not answer. His classmates tried to help him by explaining to us that he cannot speak English. Instead of skipping his introduction, I encouraged him by saying, “加油!You can do it! Can you say my name is ___? Can you try?” to which he said “Yes.” Students may be shy. However, just as I am practicing to create an open space for conversation, I hope to see them improve.

Just as Professor Ku told us, I could tell that the students did not want to leave even when the class ended. When the teachers announced the end of class, students took five minutes to say goodbye. Students would chat multiple bye’s, both type and say “See you next week.” Some asked if we have Weixin (which I’m assuming to be WeChat) and wanted to connect with us outside of class.

In my first BaoBaoBan with 7-8 years old students, I learned flexibility in adjusting the difficulty of the lesson plans. Because the students might not comprehend what is going on in a video shown, I learned to narrate after the motions happening in the video. When playing a game that taught English vocabulary of animals, one student had seen the words for the first time while the other student said “我都懂了 (I already know all of it).” To balance out the class dynamic, I would ask the students to repeat after the words and helped them create sentences. For example, even though the student might have known the word bird, I would have all students repeat “Bird” and then say, “The bird is flying.” After realizing the level of students from the first session, I simplified the lesson plan. Because the students in BaoBaoBan are younger, I also planned to say a phrase in Chinese and then in English for the upcoming lessons. In the second session, I incorporated a drawing session. Although I asked them to draw their hobbies after watching the video explaining the terms, students did not understand and drew their favorite things such as the sun, sky, and birds. So I created simple sentences out of their drawings and asked them to repeat the phrases. When a student showed me her drawing of a person, I asked her who it was. She answered back that it is the teacher, me! Throughout the class, I constantly asked for the students’ opinions in shaping the structure of the class. I would ask them whether they would prefer to play the English vocabulary game or draw, and if drawing, what to draw next. This strategy was effective in engaging the students via questions.

Here’s a cute moment I want to share! During the beginning of the class, I heard some students say “哇,好漂亮 (Wow, so pretty).” In class, students told me, “Teacher, you are really pretty,” “You are really beautiful! You look like a fairy!” When I typed back, “You look like a princess!” I saw her smile. After class, students from other groups crowded over one student’s computer to see my teaching partner and called him “帅哥.” For all my other partners too, students called them “帅哥.” I am so happy to see warm greetings and fondness from the students 🙂