Friday, 27 February 2009

Chinglish Signs and Pictionary

I'm not sure what the people of Shijiazhuang have been doing on escalators in supermarkets to make these signs necessary:

I've had a really enjoyable week of teaching, playing pictionary with my classes. Unusually, I've used the same game (but with different vocabulary) for both my Junior Twos (13 year olds) and Senior Twos (16-19 year olds). Even my most problematic Junior Two class, Class 20, who normally make me feel like an ineffectual riot police officer rather than a teacher, got so into the game that they forgot to misbehave, which gave me a warm glow of satisifaction that will hopefully carry me through the next few weeks of chaos.

My troublesome Senior Two class, Class 7, were totally uninterested as per usual, but the rest of my Senior Two classes quickly threw off their apathetic teenage airs and got as involved as the younger classes. Some even volunteered to come to the front and draw, which is such an improvement from when I started this year and had to literally drag students to the front of class to participate in games. It has been so rewarding to watch these students become more confident in speaking out in class, as when I started they were so shy and lacking in confidence (partially due I think to having a teacher last year who seemed to scare them) that I felt like I was teaching a class of trappist monks. Even if I went round and spoke to them individually with no-one else listening, a lot of them would be very reluctant to say anything and I'd find myself straining to hear whispered one word answers. Now the same kids are happy shouting out English in front of the whole class.

My class this morning was observed by Helen, who is our Foreign Affairs Assistant, and helps us with everyday life and liases between us and school management. Apparently they want me to do more class discussions, which should be interesting as I tried doing in last term and the students looked at my like I was clinically insane, but hopefully perhaps with their new found confidence it might work a bit better this time.


  1. Those signs made me laugh! Would make a great wordless post just like that!

  2. Congrats on such successful lessons, especially when Helen was there! It's always awesome when that works out. I can't imagine working with kids that old, I did inner city 8-10 year olds for three years and their apathy was enough to suck me dry for a while. Now my little ones are filling me back up. Kudos to you for figuring out what flipped the switch for yours! -e

  3. Sounds to me like kids are kids the world over ;)