B1 Intermediate US 5634 Folder Collection
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As much as I love my classes, I'm acutely aware of how restricted my students and I
feel in terms of communicating on a deeper level
Sometimes, it's funny-- we speak really slowly and use over-the top body
language to express our thoughts
Teaching on Jinmen I've develop the enthusiasm of a game show host
but other times our pantomimes seem more like an exercise in frustration
I once had a student stand over my desk trying to explain to me something
upsetting that happened at her home that morning
a fact I later learned from her homeroom teacher
Of course, there's nothing I'd rather do than forge that kind of relationship
with my students
the one where we could discuss their feelings or at least discuss topics
more stimulating
than what time did you go to bed? but for reasons beyond our control,
this kind of verbal relationship is out of the question. that's why dance,
the universal language, has become such an meaningful part of my daily routine here.
It's through dance that I feel I can finally collaborate with my students in a way
that's significant and challenging for both parties to the encounter.
we had this idea to organize a flashmob on Jinmen
We figured it would be fun to introduce this phenomenon to our small
island,
we knew we could garner spectators and interest in a short amount of time.
We also wanted to do more than just teach a dance class, we wanted to create
a dance community
with in which students all across the island could work together towards a final goal.
It's been a pleasure traveling to the various schools,
and meeting new students.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the choreography element of the flashingmob,
but more than that- they were excited by the opportunity to take part in
something that reached beyond their campus walls.
Where language has failed us, dance has provided an outlet for creative
self-expression,
and has served as an instrument for building connections
As a student, I always enjoyed learning outside of the classroom.
Now, as a new teacher I strive to create a space for students to learn
English with their bodies and minds,
whether through swimming, dance, or flash mobbin' the local square with students
from around the island.
Having lived in a cross-cultural context for five months,
I continue to realize how healthy integration of verbal communication
and bodily cues is crucial for effective communication.
So in the classroom, I want to teach my kids that learning English can be more
than memorizing vocabulary
and that it can ultimately be a creative outlet. My thinking is that if we can have fun
and let it all out while moving within foreign
language, well not only ignite new communication skills,
but also meet each other in a new realm. At my school's anniversary celebration in
the November,
I was able to watch my students interact and move around outside
of class through traditional druming performances, contemporary dance and
sports contents.
Arthur, a back-row hooligan in the fourth grade, wowed me with his expressive
drumming, and inspired me
to further incorporate music and movement into my teaching.
Similarly, I've strengthened my relationship with my LET outside of school through
aerobics class
at the local university, where I pracice my Chinese and express myself to a
different beat.
I hope that these teaching methods instill confidence within the students to
communicate with whichever tools are most comfortable
and natural for them. While living in a foreign country
with an unfamiliar language, it would have been easy to come home after school each
day
and retreat my own Eglish-speaking bubble within the Fulbright community.
This would have required less effort and energy than racking my brain to use my
limited Chinese to communicate with locals.
But then I would have missed out on Jinmen's many cultural offerings as well as
the opportunity to meet
the friendly people call Jinmen HOME. I decided to involve myself in the
community
by registering for classes at the Community College. Since my go-to
phrases of
"where's the bathroom?" and "I would like a bowl of beef noodle soup"
were little use in class, I was forced to improve my Chinese communication skills.
One reason that I joined a traditional Chinese dance class to participate
without needing to understand every word the teachers said.
Dance is a universal language through which ideas and emotions can be expressed
I was able to develop relationships with some women in the clss
through our shared interest in expression through movement.
Chinese dance also motivated me to learn more about the local culture.
I look forward to sharing what I learned in this dance class with my future
students in the states,
just as I was able to share aspects of American culture through dance with my
students in Jinmen.
In the fall, i switch schools and began working at Jihu Elementry.
Participating in the Jinmen and flashmob has enabled me to continue a
relationship with my former students.
On weekends, I wake up early in the morning
to meet with my former students -whom, of their own accord,
gather in the sixth grade classroom of the school campus to dance
I remember walking into the classroom at Zhong Zheng elementary
in the morning and facing a classroom
of excited, sleepy, bewildered and intrigued sixth graders.
I performed the dance for them and some were immediately excited
and some were hesitant and skeptical.
In the end, the entire classroom was learning the dance and enjoying themselves.
The particular dance and i tought- the "skelewu"
is a Nigerian dance currently circulating in the African media
as well as internationally.
Prior to coming here, I never would have imagined sharing my Nigerian American
heritage
through dance with students on Jinmen. Moreover,
I nI never would have thought that teaching thithis dance would have strengthened our
relationship.
Dance is a wonderful medium because it tells a story without words,
and through this experience I have been able to teach my students not the steps
of a dancing toutine,
but about diversity.
The beautiful thing about dance is that you don't need words to communicate.
At the beginning of the year, my Taiwanese colleagues were friendly and welcoming,
but I was certainly aware of the barrier between us. My limited
Chinese and their limited English restricted our communication.
From September through November, all of the teachers at my school attended a weekly
aerobics dance class together.
In this environment, we all felt silly and out of our comfort zones,
shaking our hips and doing the cha cha but it helped break
the ice.
Through these classes, I was able to get to know my coworkers
in a sace that felt less formal and where I felt less conscious
of differences between us.
As time went on, my coworkers started to reach out to me,
inviting me to chat me relax over tea or dinner after school.
The culmination of our aerobics class was a teacher performance at our school's
100th
anniversary.
It was quite a show, matching outfits and all.
I felt like a real part of my school's family, like I was among friends.
My relationships have continued to grow, and now,
teachers are more willing to help me in the classroom when I'm teaching alone,
and are more open to trying to communicate with me in English.
Whhile the improvement in our relationship is obviously due to
the increase comfort that grows with time, I really do credit our dance class
for providing the platform upon which I have been able
to cultivte this friendships.
My teaching experience in Jinmen has been an adventure. I didn't know what to expect in terms of
the student's English skills, and I was nervous about teaching upper elementary
at the age kids are sassy. The school year started off smoothly and has continued to be so.
Forming a good relationship with my student is important to me,
and I believe I was able to do that both in and out of class.
In class I've tried to teach through fun, dynamic and coopertive and activities.
These classes offer me opportunities to get to know my students and for them to gain
confidence.
Of course, no class is perfect-
some students are shy while others are nughty. Connecting with these students
can be difficult, especially since some classes have up to 20 students.
That's why I enjoy time outside of class, such as lunch or extracurricular
activities,
when I can see my students in other environments and learn about their talents.
Most of my older students have become interested in English language
an American culture- often through songs, movies, or music videos.
Having seen how much my students enjoy music and dance, I knew that our project would
be perfect for them.
When Leah visited my school to help teach the dance, many were both excited
and nervous, some of the dance moves were difficult and the sassier your students wanted to give up
almost immediately,
but I knew they just needed an extra push and more practice to realize their potential.
We practice again the next day, breaking down each part slowly
so everyone could master the steps.
Even though some students complained, class always ended in laughter and smiles.
I enjoy teaching the dnce because it gave me another opportunity
to connect with my students and help them over come a challenge.
I think they were excited to be in class with no pressure.
They were also excited to learned the same dace as so many other students in Jinmen.
All of their hard work finally came together in the final performance.
Performing the flashmob in Shanwai bus station was exhilarating-
family and friends came to watch us all dance
Locals waiting for the bus aslo pleasantly surprised.
By channeling some students' more negative attitudes into a positive activity,
help them realize that mixing dance and sass can only produce
one thing: Swag
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A Dynamic Dialogue 金門快閃舞

5634 Folder Collection
凱雯 published on June 19, 2015
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