It is a big daunting - but I am finding it interesting as I wade through all the material for my three subjects. I hope to have my first three exercises completed by Monday - they are due to be posted by Tuesday. So hopefully I will keep on track.
I have had some emails and skype sessions with students in China. One wanting to help me to help her with her spoken English for an exam she has in the next week or so. Oral English - and clearly I can help her with that via Skype. But she was vague about what questions would be asked, and wanted just to "speak". Mmm. Not good enough for me, so I asked her to do some research on what TOPICS would be discussed. I asked for more and more information. Initially she said it was about "current affairs" so I asked her questions about the recent major airline disaster in China, and Expo, and clearly she had scant knowledge of these things. I sent her off to do some research. I smiled as she told me that "a plane was "damaged" in north China, and that there were 96 people on board. OK, but it crashed, and around 40 people were killed. Her knowledge of Expo was scant too.
So I gave her a task of doing research on some topics - and I'd create some questions. I could check her English and we could then do the conversation on Skype but she would be following my questions and answers in English as I had corrected them.
No one had taught her how to plan for such a test - so I will be keen to see how we go - and of course I will be keen to hear the test results. Am I on the right track? Then she has come back to me with a series of other topics that she will have to talk about. Again, I have asked her to write down the answers that she would give -based on some questions that she had indicated.
I should hear today or tomorrow from her, and we will go onto the next step.
Meanwhile another student has been corresponding with me. He's about 19, was at high school but forced to give up school as his parents wanted him to earn money so that he could buy them a beautiful home. He's quite good at English, but totally lacking in confidence. He wrote to me to tell me he hated the job, but his parents and sister had given him a lot of abuse about his wish to remain at school. In the end he has given up the job and enrolled back at school, and has a dream to push forward with his English studies.
He thanked me for my continued support and encouragement - and wrote a lovely email to me.
The pressure many Chinese students have put on them is immense, such that the suicide rate for students is very high. Just so much pressure - and as I believe, a lot of insults from teachers if they do not do well. Sad, but true.