August 30, 2006

Observing...
This being my first full week here, I've been observing the various classes that I'll be teaching, before I start my own classes next week. The lady who made my schedule for this week, didn't tell any of the teachers ahead of time that I'll be going to their classes, so some of the teachers were understandably shocked when I was waiting outside their class. One poor lady was quite frightened that I would be listening to her class.

The obvious thing that I've noticed is how well behaved the students are, and how much the students study. Each of the classes is 40 minutes long, with the first one starting at 7:30. They have 5 classes before lunch, a 2-hour lunch break, then another 4 classes. After dinner, they start back at 6:30 with another 2 classes, followed by 80 minutes of time to do homework before they go back to their dorms at 10:00. Apparently there are schools where the students study even more.
The English classes vary in size, from 35-50, but the average class for other subjects is 50 pupils. The classes involve a fair amount of repetition, reading and repeating words, although I'm impressed with the amount of English that some of the teachers use in their classes.
Being that I'm at a foreign language highschool, the students take English classes everyday. That being said, there's a great disparity between the students even in the same grade. Some can't form basic questions, others can have good conversations and express themselves well. In some ways that makes sense, since there are over 5000 pupils in this one school alone. Most of the students know how to say "Bonjour" or "Salut", which surprises me. Apparently after English, which is required study for all students in China, French and Japanese are the most popular 3rd languages.
*The picture is of one wing of the school, between Sunday evening study sessions.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are there any french classes being taught at your school? Any chance they might have you teach some french?

Dana said...

It's amazing how hard students work over there, eh? I couldn't get over it, and in some ways, it made me kind of sad knowing the kids don't know how to play, have fun. Also makes the students back in Canada look like major slackers!!!

Stephen said...

I did a presentation on Canada today, and the teacher made me introduce myself in English and French to impress the kids! They don't teach French normally, although they might get me to teach a class next semester if they get more foreign teachers.
I totally agree with you Dana, they work very hard, and it does make Canadian students look like slackers. But at the same time, Canadian universities/scholarships value more extra-curricular activities like music and sports, whereas in China it's the national exam that is life or death (sometimes literally!).

Anonymous said...

Loved the photo, it looks like a fairly new school. Do the students have music and art classes, or just academics?

Stephen said...

Yah, the school was built about 4 years ago (although the junior high which is closer to town is much older). Some students can choose to study art, but art and music are optional, and it seems that the sciences and English are much more popular.