Goodbye English → Hello Chinese!

In their first day of full immersion, students begin to acclimate to their new schedules.

June 30, 2016

Day Two has surfaced. 

As the first day of full immersion, the campus was slightly quieter than it was in the past couple days—students had to make the transition from talking with their newly-made friends in English to Chinese. It’ll take some time for students to fully acclimate to this new way of life.

This is not to say that chatter wasn’t still in the air, though! Students exhibited enthusiasm and desire to be completely immersed in Chinese language and culture—students asked their teachers detailed, articulate questions about the material they’re learning in every class today.

Today, in Jingping He’s class, students took part time in word recognition games in which they competed in teams to see who could identify the most words in the shortest time frame. Jingping He described this as “the fun way to learn.” She cited the importance of incorporating a stable amount of joy into the classroom—it’s not all supposed to be intellectually taxing, according to her.

In the other classes, students learned about how to write and schedule their daily routines. They learned how to tell time, and then apply it to a set of activities. Teachers had the students write down their daily schedules while at the Academy, and then place it in their folders, in the event that they need a reminder.

In addition to the aforementioned lessons, another class learned about locational phrases and how to identify where something/someone is. This lesson played off of the ones about scheduling that the students were having as well, for it taught them how to say where they’ll need to be.

For example, “I need to be at the library at 3:00 PM.”

Another class took a dive into the animal world. In this lesson, they learned how to say a plethora of animal species in Chinese, and also how to sound out their corresponding sounds. For instance, when they learned the word for “dog,” they would then bark.

This allowed for a connection to be set up in the students’ minds. When they identified a sound with a word, it allowed that newly-learned vocabulary word to resonate with them and stick in their memory, as opposed to having it go in one ear and then out the other.

After their morning classes, the schedule followed like usual: the students went to lunch, and then had their cultural exploration classes afterwards.

During these courses, students took part in mastering their calligraphy skills and solidifying their knowledge of authentic Chinese tea. 

In the class on calligraphy, students drew out first-drafts of calligraphic images, and then transferred these images onto red pieces of paper for their final drafts. As they drew out their final drafts, students were working meticulously and carefully as to not make any mistakes.

In the course about Chinese tea, students prepared for tomorrow's tea festivities. During the cultural exploration classes tomorrow, students will have the opportunity to take part in a tea discussion on its importance, history and value in Chinese culture.

In order to prepare for tomorrow, students were taught phrases deemed necessary to know by the teacher. These phrases will enable them to have a fluid discussion about the tea, while also enjoying it, at the same time!

After these sets of courses, afternoon activities with the REs came. For an hour, they had the chance to play soccer, frisbee, draw or just go for a walk. This hour gave them a chance to unwind from all of today’s classes.

Afterwards, Tong Chen’s father came to the campus and cooked vegetable spring rolls for students of both Academies.

The rest of the day was given to the students. They were able to rest, play sports games or get ahead on homework.

And so, students have officially made it through their first full day of only speaking Chinese! However, this is only the beginning…

Thus concludes Day Two.

Calligraphy time!