Andy McKenzie (a fellow UHS-er) provided this idea: the failed blog post series. And because I want Andy to achieve his goal of becoming number one hit on his ego-search (type your own name into google), I am linking to him and pay tribute to his failed-blog-post idea. All Chinese-school related:
ABC, Easy at 1-2-3: A few weeks back, the class was going through the day’s lesson and the teacher gives an example sentence using the phrase “ABC.” Many students were confused but I just burst out laughing. ABC stands for American Born Chinese. In yet another “cultural lesson” for students here, the teachers proceeded to investigate who was and who was not an ABC in our class. When they found out that I am, in fact, an ABC kid, they now ask me all the ABC questions… And any Japanese questions get asked to the Japanese student. Korean questions get asked to the Korean student, etc. It’s like asking a black student to speak on behalf of “his people”… give me a break.
Why Aren’t You in China?: I still get a lot of inquiries into why I didn’t go to China to study Chinese. In fact, I will go to China to study Chinese next year. But people wonder why I spent a summer in Vermont studying the language. I now know why: Middlebury’s language environment actually makes you learn more quickly because it is really, really safe. You can feel free to make as many mistakes as you possibly can here and that is good. In China, you speak to someone on the street and you feel the need to not embarrass yourself. Here at Middlebury, everyone is learning so the language environment is much more supportive and safe. I would suggest first and second year students, in particular, go to Middlebury for language. That safety, though, is also something that I really have a hard time with because it’s boring.
Evaluations: Three weeks ago, when I went through my first round of evaluations with my teachers, I was doing well in Chinese school. Getting good grades and riding my first-year foundations. Now, the story is a bit different as I am hitting new grammar, increasingly more sophisticated vocabulary. But the question persists: what is the best way to encourage students to continue their studies and work harder? Is it to give them high grades and encouraging words? Or is it to give them low grades and room for improvement. I still think Chinese school should be harder on its students in terms of grading so that they know where to improve but perhaps after a second round of evaluations, I will have a better concept of this.