Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Time is going quickly

This week is my last week of classes. What I have been doing is showing some films in class. One DVD is about Australia and the other is a popular movie.

Sadly I have been unable to access the class rooms with audio visual facilities for my Oral English class. Sure one does not want to show movies all the time in English class, but they are very helpful.

Because it is the last lesson I have not used them as I would normally do in English class, but there is English subtitles, and English dialogue and it is a musical so the students can sing along with the cast members.

In class movies can be very helpful but to do it properly there is quite a lot of planning required. It is helpful to give students information on some of the dialogue - especially words that they might not normally have seen or understood.

There are some tearful farewells too. Yes, and some of the tears are from my eyes. I have made some great friends.

It is funny though. For the final examination of the Oral English students I have included an interview with them. Some conversation and some reading. On two occasions boys - and there are few here - at the end of the class, ask if they can hug me. They will miss me!

I do laugh a little about this. Are they trying to woo the teacher a little for extra marks? Probably. But at the same time probably not. I'm hoping that the guys are genuine in their affection for me, and that is all. Rather funny really. And no, they don't get extra marks.

Last night I spoke with two students in the coffee bar, and walked about the different cultures and the different manners. I told them about the time I went with a student to dinner and how the student spat our her bones and other wanted food onto the table. (It is quite acceptable in China and is done in all the nice restaurants!) Of course I found it quite appalling. Also the loud eating of food - munch, munch, crunch, crunch - often with the mouth open.

We also talked about the issues with spitting and smoking. Few women smoke in China, in fact the only one I have seen is an English teacher from Australia. I find it very uncomfortable in restaurants, in elevators and in the taxi when the cigarette is lit up and I have to endure a gulf of smoke. Strangely there is a sign in taxis that smoking is forbidden, but that appears to exclude the driver!!!!

Even the Chinese students do not like the spitting. And the disrespect for other peoples property too. They acknowledge that there is a problem with rubbish - pollution. Of course there are waste bins everywhere, but many Chinese people just throw their stuff on the ground.

I would hope that the students at university now understand some of the things that their country needs to change. Some of the above. I learned that men who do plumbing work and electricians do not need to have training. Anyone can do it.

Which is probably why there is so much problem with plumbing here. It is common to find a toilet "broken" - "it is broken" and no one can fix it.

All I can see is that there are many opportunities - yes, for plumbers and electricians to be trained, for education on pollution, and spitting, and for education on maintenance (not done much at all!), and so on.

I know a lot of people are highly critical of some aspects of life here in China, and there are days I can slip into frustration about it. But this country has had challenges that no other country has faced, and I think they are doing well. Extremely well.

Just more opportunities and challenges. It will be interesting to watch China develop.

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