Friday: The Capstone of the Week

July 15, 2016

At last, it’s Friday: the third school week has come to a close.

In an eventful Friday, students from the Chinese Academy were busily packed from the morning to evening with classes, activities and a guest speaker presentation—what a day!

In classes, today, students continued on from what they did yesterday, building and strengthening their vocabulary to new heights. Here’s an overview of what went on in some of the classes:

  • Singing: Like most days, one class taught students how to sing authentic Chinese songs. Then, in this class, students broke into small groups, where they created skits in which the dialogue was sung, not spoken.
  • Doctor’s Office: Continuing on from yesterday’s lesson, one class was taught how to go to the doctor’s and what vocabulary is needed to explain symptoms. At the end of class, students performed the skits on which they practiced yesterday, depicting “how to” visit the doctor’s office.
  • Transportation: One class learned about transportation vocabulary, and then analyzed how it created a cultural shift in China. The shift from the bike to the car came with lots of social change, according to one Chinese teacher.
  • Social Interactions: One class learned about the social life in China, and how to interact with teenagers in Chinese culture. In other words, students were taught how to be “cool” in China.
  • Do/Don’ts: In another class, students learned about what is and isn’t socially acceptable to do in China. This class paralleled with the “Social Interactions” class heavily.
  • Pen Pal Letters: In two classes, a while back, students set up pen pals. Today, the pen pal duos exchanged their letters.

Later in the evening, the students from the Chinese Academy had a guest speaker come to the campus: Professor Ying. Professor Ying teaches Chinese language pedagogy at the University of Vermont.

In her presentation, Professor Ying talked about her experience in intercultural communication, engaging with the students as the presentation went on, allowing them to chime in and ask questions whenever they wanted.

Later in her presentation, she pulled out a pipa—an authentic Chinese instrument. She demonstrated how it was played, and then allowed students to come up and try it out for themselves.

Needless to say, the instrument sounded best when played by Professor Ying—not the students. However, the students still had fun trying out this guitar-like instrument!

After several students had tried to play the instruments, everyone returned to their seats and shouted out songs to play, after Professor Ying said she’d take requests.

When she didn’t know one of the songs the students wanted, the whole Academy quickly transformed into a choir, singing the song for her. To her best ability, she tried to match the tune of their offbeat singing and play the song.

She did this for several songs, and all the students loved it! At one point, even, students got up to dance, showing off their moves to everyone.

At the end of the presentation, the students played their favorite Chinese songs on the projector for Professor Ying to see. The students got very into it, singing—in unity—to each lyric of each song.

Once everything was over, the students came together for a group photo, with Professor Ying!

After the photo, students were dismissed to go outside. However, several students chose to stay behind, preferring instead to talk with Professor Ying, foregoing their last bit of free-time for the day.

It was undoubtedly a great Friday—but now, the students are ready to move onto the weekend!