Teach English in Xinhe Zhen - Suqian Shi

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The chosen topic: 88. PERSONAL TEACHING EXPERIENCE With almost 260 million students and more than 15 million teachers in nearly 514,000 schools, China has the largest educational system in the world. Students usually enroll in preschool at the age of two or three and leave preschool at the age of six. In this context, this study aims to report the experience lived as an English teacher in a private school in the city of Yuxi, Yunnan province in China, during the period of one year. For that, a qualitative approach of the descriptive type was used with participatory observation recorded in a field diary. The diary is a very flexible way to access information about activities, thoughts, and feelings, they can be used in a considerable variety of research designs (ALASZEWSKI, 2006). According to Oppenheimer (2010), one of the most impressive things about China that contributes to making the country a world economic power is the people's obsession with education. Chinese families invest most of their money and time in their children's education. Below are described some curiosities seen during the observation. Eating is an extremely valued activity in the local culture, and until recently people used to greet each other with “Chi le ma?”, “Have you eaten yet?” (Trevisan, 2008. P.79). Another cultural aspect is dancing in the streets. Many women, usually retired or housewives, gather in groups and perform several choreographies that are generally simple repetitive movements. This is a way of socializing and staying healthy. In family aspects, it is seen that children spend a lot of time with their grandparents. Parents usually work and do not have time to take care of the kids. So it is very common to see grandparents taking their grandchildren to school or carrying small babies on their backs. When walking on the streets or taking the bus people would stare at you, and there are parents who “force” their children to come and say hello in English and some will ask to take pictures, celebrity filling I would say. Returning to education, the school's philosophy encourages the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language progression of each student. It aims to stimulate children's curiosity and interest in learning, developing skills and building self-confidence. The school works with Midisaurus English Program for Kindergarten children aged 3 to 6 years. The Midisaurus English program was developed based on a holistic approach that allows children to acquire language skills gradually to increase their confidence in the use of English. The curriculum is carefully structured to ensure that children acquire the main skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The program incorporates songs and rhymes with catchy melodies and coordinated actions, motivating children to learn English through music and movement. Interactive features allow children to learn while playing and prolong their attention span. At first, the students are shy, but after a few classes, they all come to the room wanting to hug you. It is noticed that the hug is not something typical of Chinese culture and therefore when the foreigner embraces an adult it is a little embarrassing for them, but the little ones even though shy like hugging the teacher. Students are very curious to know the foreign teacher, so they have lots of questions in every class. The eyes and the big nose of the westerners draw the children's attention and for this reason, several times the students ask to touch the nose of the foreign teacher, they say “你 的 鼻子 大“ “Nǐ de bízi dà” which means “your nose is big” and so we all laugh a lot. No one can communicate without knowing what words to use, so vocabulary is an important skill in learning a foreign language. Thus, the most used strategy for teaching vocabulary is the use of "flashcards". This makes the class more interesting and fun, giving students the opportunity to interact and learn. Flashcards are used according to the lesson theme, involving different games. This strategy has very positive results in the acquisition of vocabulary. It is also noticed the emphasis given to the use of technology in school, all classrooms have computers, projector, and interactive digital whiteboards, this allows interaction between students and the teacher through music, videos, and games. According to Beeland, 2002, the interactive digital whiteboard provides learning from three modes: visual, auditory and tactile. Visual learning would be through the use of texts, figures, animations, and videos. Auditory learning through activities that involve listening to sounds or music, pronunciation, speeches and poems, and tactile learning that allows students to physically interact with the digital whiteboard by touching it. Regarding discipline in the classroom, Chinese students are well aware of the limits, respect for their elders. Respect for hierarchy has its foundations in the Chinese culture, so in general indiscipline, problems are not seen frequently. As the classes are small, between 5-10 students, it is easier to control behaviors. The teachers usefully use positive reinforcement to motivate students or to regulate inappropriate behavior during class. It is very common to do the famous “Hi-Five” to congratulate students. Finally, the experience at school contributed to personal growth, knowing other cultures makes people more empathetic with differences. As teachers, we aim to help students learn but at the same time, they teach us much more. The Chinese educational environment has provided new insight into education and learning strategies. References ALASZEWSKI, A. Using Diaries for Social Research. Thousand Oaks, London: Sage, 2006. OPPENHEIMER, A. Basta de Historias! La obsesión latinoamericana con el pasado y las doce claves del futuro. México DC: Debate, 2010. 1 ed. TREVISAN, C. Os Chineses, São Paulo: Editora Contexto, 2009. BEELAND, D. W. Student engagement, visual learning and technology: can interactive whiteboards help? 2002. p. 1.