AsiaChinaGulang

Update from Gansu

Gulang Travel Blog

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The technology classroom. TECC focuses on both technology education as well as English education

Greetings from Gansu!

I’ve been here for about a week now in the beautiful and mountainous Gulang.  We have student volunteers from Beijing, Hong Kong, and the U.S., as well as additional students from Shanghai and Taiwan, for a total of 14 volunteers.  I’m actually the only volunteer from the U.S.  It’s good that we got reinforcements from Shanghai and Taiwan, because it was originally only four of us -- including the coordinator who wasn’t planning on teaching -- that were teaching during the first few days (6 hours/day, 3 classes), and it was really exhausting.

The classroom I teach my English classes in.
  Several students who were supposed to come ended up not making it, but despite our volunteer shortages, I think we’ve managed pretty successfully.

TECC focuses on both technology education as well as English education.  As such, we are holding both technology and English classes at the Training Center for Teachers in Gulang.  Our English classes, furthermore, are split up into a basic class targeted towards the primary school teachers and a more advanced one for the junior and senior high school teachers.  I’ve mostly been in charge of improving speaking skills for the advanced English class.

The teaching experiences of the teachers are varied.  I’ve met teachers who have only been teaching for one year, to some who have been teaching for over a decade.

The TECC team, near the Teachers Training Institute
  Some, moreover, can speak really decent English but others can’t understand a word that I say.  With such differing levels in our audience, many of us have had to adjust our original plans to meet the needs of the teachers. 

On the first day when we had the opening ceremony, we asked each teacher what he or she would like to learn or achieve during this summer institute.  The majority of teachers want to improve their English speaking and listening skills.  The teachers for the most part know the basic rules and structures of the English language, but they still find it difficult to express themselves and communicate to their students in English.  One teacher expressed dissatisfaction that her students don’t understand her when she speaks English in the classroom.  Many also seek to learn new and interesting teaching methods to use in their own classes.

Everyone in celebratory mode atop the mountain
  Some have expressed that their students often find learning English boring and difficult, and if we could provide them with any methods to improve their students’ attentiveness, this would help them greatly. 

We have all been working hard to help improve those areas.  For example, to improve speaking skills, we did a travel agent activity where groups of teachers were assigned a Chinese city and had to persuade the rest of the class to visit there.  To improve listening, we had the teachers watch an episode of Desperate Housewives and then act out various common scenarios, such as a family dinner or parents at a supermarket.  We have also worked on reading and writing, by having them read articles from Newsweek and The Economist and then write summaries.  In the next few days, we are planning on refining grammar skills and introducing some new styles of teaching, as well as continuing to improve speaking and listening skills.

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The technology classroom.  TECC fo…
The technology classroom. TECC f…
The classroom I teach my English c…
The classroom I teach my English …
The TECC team, near the Teachers T…
The TECC team, near the Teachers …
Everyone in celebratory mode atop …
Everyone in celebratory mode atop…
A teacher and fellow student volun…
A teacher and fellow student volu…
Turtle shot!
Turtle shot!
Another picture from atop the moun…
Another picture from atop the mou…
15,408 km (9,574 miles) traveled
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photo by: Reptile517