the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Monday, May 19, 2008

Chinese Students

Today two students from China came to our school to "promote
intercultural relations" between Japan and China. We were really nervous
about how well they could speak English, but as it turned out, the
government sent a translator (we found out this morning when she
arrived), and the students spoke English at least as well as our
students. ...thanks to everyone from the English fellowship who prayed
for us. Aside from me misspelling one of the Chinese girl's names on the
board, everything went really smoothly today.

In English class we made small groups and talked with the students in
English (their translator was also interesting to talk to). It was
really great for my students to see that they can communicate with
people from other countries using English. The one downer my students
had was "we can't properly explain Japan in English".

There's a lot of Japanese culture that is a short word, but requires a
long explanation in English. I usually just gloss over this in lower
classes - I just let them use the Japanese words (onigiri, bento,
kyudou) in the English sentences. But my heart went out to my students,
and I think I need to start not glossing over Japanese cultural
explanations.

As it turns out, we got the two Chinese students because two of our
families applied to be host families. Unlike Americans, Japanese
families generally regard being a host family as a great privilege (but
just the same, few families volunteer). It sounds corny, but all in all
it was a great day of cultural exchange.

1 Comments:

Blogger *cq* said...

glad to hear that things went well. ppl tend to belittle things these days but i think cross cultural exchanges require lotsa courage! esp when u know that there are gonna be awkward silences, misunderstandings, as slight as they may be, or as big as they can get etc etc etc. patience, perseverance (esp for longer term ones) and perspectives (from a diff angles) are essential.

on a totally diff matter, u got me started on googling up "totti".

5/19/2008 11:12 PM  

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