The end of the year is approaching, which also means it’s the holiday season now. holidays to say bye to the old year and wave to a new start.

the school start to get Christmasy with all the different decorations. At the mean time, the preparation for Chinese new year performance are undergoing. It seems like that when you talk about Chinese style, there are some stereotype impressions that you can’t avoid. Bright red and golden colors, embroider, Chinese traditional dress, Chinese dragons, etc.

Are those Chinese? Yes, those are the most iconic symbols of China. However, are those enough? I don’t think so, they solely can not just stand for the LIVING China!

Coincidently, I saw some well-known brands designed some limit edition items just for Chinese new year. I have to say, they used almost all the recognized Chinese factors in their products, but according to the feedback from the most Chinese people, it’s not what we are expecting!

I also remembered that in a lot of non-immersion Chinese classroom, the teachers put in a lot of efforts to make Chinese class fun by introducing Chinese culture. So they teach a lot about making Chinese crosses, cutting Chinese paper cutting. But to be fair, how many of you still see a whole lot of people doing this in China themselves?

As Chinese teachers, our mind is so locked by the so called”Chinese image” that we forget to show people the REAL LIVING China, where is also high speed, international look and exploring something new while inheriting the tradition.

Also keep in mind, you’re the living China!

The post-methods era

Recently while checking the students’ Chinese homework, I find that although being in fully immersion program from quite a young age, they are still suffering from the negative transfer from English grammar to Chinese sentence structure.

For example, the Time and Place are usually placed in the end of a sentence as adverbial modifier in English. While in Chinese,for the most case, those are placed in the beginning of the sentence. Another example, “都” and “所有” can both be translated in to “all” in English, While in Chinese, the semantic orientation of “都”points to the content in front of it; “所有” is the opposite way. the kids are mixing them up and since they learned “都” much earlier, they tend to use it under most circumstance.

Immersion is aboslutly great way of learning a second language, especially when the learner are in a young age. The effect can be amazing, showed by their natural pronunciation, their accumulation of vocabulary, and the speed they pick up the language.

But is there any perfect way of second language teaching? The answer seems to be no. No matter how immersed they are in the target language, it’s still their second language. The negative transfer from the mother tongue seems like unavoidable. Will grammar teaching really be so bad to ruin the immersion method?

Of course, I don’t mean going back to the “grammar translation method era”, making the second language class really boring and hard. Immersion is definitely a big progress. But it should be more like a “post-methods era”, we should use all factors that are beneficial in all different teaching methods.

So, what about some easy grammar in Immersion class? I don’t seem to see the harm!

The science Fair

After learning about “scientific methods” for a week, all the fifth grade students had a science fair on Tuesday.

“Scientific method” is the way that helps you to think like logically and meticulously, like a scientist. First, you come up with a question, and then, you make a hypothesis about your question. Of course then, you’ll need to think a plan to prove your assumption. After those, you can conduct your experiments. It’s necessary to have more than one experiment to get the conclusion. You’d better have only one variate each time so you can know the factor that made the differences. And from the results of the experiments, you may be able to verify your hypothesis and get a final conclusion.

When it comes to science, we usually will think about computer science, energy science,etc. Something modern, something huge. But actually, not only those things are science, it can be just something near around us.

Some of the kids use the above method steps to see where in the school has the most germs,or what pop can do to your teeth, some even tried to figure out whether their doggy is left handed or right handed.

Science can be something make huge differences, but it also can be something small but good. In short, all things that can make you life easier and better, that’s SCIENCE! We may not become the kind of scientist that make magnificant differences to all human kind. But thinking like a scientist sure will help to make your own life better in many small aspects.

What if I fail?

Thursday morning, we got a really sad girl in our class. Cause she didn’t pass her reading level test. She didn’t even attend the math class cause she was sobbing so hard.

She told me that she had been in Green reading level for almost a year, she put a lot of efforts in but just can not move on to the White level.

I then told her what happened the first time I took my drivers’ license test. I feel pretty ready before I had my test, cause just as the way she thought, I assumed that I had put enough time and efforts in practicing driving. But guess what? I actually didn’t pass. My movement is not fast enough so I may block the normal traffic.

I told her that the examiners are more experienced than me in driving. If they think that I’m not ready, then maybe I do need to practice more. This is a way to protect me and also others to be safe. The same for you, if you just move to the next level in spite that the professional persons saying you’re not ready, you may will struggle with the vocabulary and you’ll not feel the joy of reading.

Sometimes, we didn’t actually put enough work in to get what we want. What’s even more cruel is that sometimes, you may still fail even if you really worked hard. The world maybe is  actually protecting us in this special way. The aim of education, the meaning of growing up is not only about achieving more. And how to face F properly is a part of it to!

Who’s a risk-taker?

Maybe I should talk about politics here, but as a racial minority, a Chinese, a non-citizen here, I did hear a lot negative things happening to my compatriots after the election.

I have a friend whose teenage daughter is in Woodbury High School, where there are a lot of international students. This use to be the peculiarity that makes the school so different among high schools. But he told me that right after the election day, some of the students just told their “pre-schoolmates” that “I think you may will be deported!” Isn’t this hurting?

While in the same week, When we are teaching our IB schools’ attributes in our class, something warm just happened, easing the underlying anxiety in my heart.

The attribute of the week is Risk-takers. Our goal is to let the students know that being Risk-takers opens more possibilities in your life. When we are trying to ask them to give some examples about being risk takers, one of the students said,” I think all our teachers are risk takers. They leave their own home country and come overseas, facing all the uncertainty, just to become our teachers and provide us a better opportunity to learn another language.”

I was really touched by this answer, knowing that you as a foreigner or non-American, your work is recognized and they appreciate your courage instead of thinking you may need to be deported. BIG Thanks to those people for being so open-minded!

The “p” word

Is this a little bit awkward? Haha, yep, the students in my class are learning about PUBERTY! This a a period of time that everyone will face on their way growing up. But it seems like that the majority of people are not ready when they are on the edge of going over there. That might be why a boy asked teachers to use the”P” word instead of ” puberty”~ LOL

This week, they learned about the changes that will happen to them during adolescence. They’re also told what actions to take when it happens.

After the video teaching, they asked a lot of questions. I can tell that they are curious, but they are also shy. They’re looking forward while they are somehow scared.

Since it is awkward, can we skip teaching this? The answer is absolutely NO! Getting to know those things can reduce their panic when the really face it. And it’s also better for their communication and understanding between each other.

In China, the proper school education about puberty is still kind of lack. We really need to make this up, soon!