May 8, 2009

Volume 3, Issue 5

As the semester draws to a close, our thoughts are toward the future including summer plans and returning to China next year. Currently we are piecing together our summer schedule trying to arrange ways to see as many of you as possible. You have provided tremendous support and encouragement to our family and the students here in China. Please know that we appreciate each of you deeply and hope to express our appreciation to you personally this summer.

If you are not already, please prayerfully consider partnering together with the Father’s plans for this nation and joining the support team.

Inside Advanced Oral English

“So, you are an English teacher in China. What does that mean? What do you teach and how do you do it?”

I realized that many may not know what happens as an English teacher in China so I thought it would be cool to give you a peek into the classroom, from preparation to students. Advanced Oral English is a class that I could do anything with as long as the students are improving their spoken English and our organization provides a “Resource DVD” filled with curriculums from previous teachers. This semester, since my students’ English level is remarkable, I decided to challenge the students with weekly debates. Each week, the students are given a homework assignment to research information for the next week’s debate. The semester’s topics include the rising tuition costs, unemployment, gun control, examination based assessment, and internet censorship.

The class begins with a simple warm-up activity in which pairs of students talk together each giving their opinion on the topic (ex. Foreign educated Chinese have an obligation to return to their homeland upon graduation for the betterment of China) and the other student plays “Devil’s Advocate.” This activity really challenges the students to think outside the box and examine opinions contrary to their own. The class continues as we learn about the different aspects of the debate including resolutions and syllogisms (ex. Wars cause death and destruction; death and destruction are immoral; therefore, wars are immoral.) before we conclude the class with a formal debate pitting two pairs of students against each other.

We have found that by teaching the students to think critically inside the classroom, they are more likely to begin to think critically outside the classroom. The hope is that this deep thinking will eventually lead the students to question their worldview and examine/consider “the other side of the coin” including eternal matters.
72% of freshmen students responded ‘I am…none’ when asked what they believed; additionally 16% responded ‘I am atheist.’ ”
Freshmen Oral English class survey 2009

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