Day 5 in Jinnuin Town, China
Trip Start Jul 18, 2013
16Trip End Aug 05, 2013
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the teaching is going well. I'm less nervous, and of course, I'm thinking better as I am less anxious. We shifted gears yesterday afternoon when we saw people getting sleepy and obviously not understanding. They love lecture and note taking and maybe learning is more transmission to them. But of course, the information we have is not rote and so when it comes to application in new ways, which we are asking of them, they struggle. I must take most of the responsibility here, because I think we have not offered enough concrete examples that are more specific to their culture and their own curriculum. The next trainers will do better at this.
Jinnuin Town is surrounded by mountains and rural farming. As I may have said in my first entry, every conceivable piece of land has something growing on it. It is grape season and they are everywhere. There are several long alleys right near the hotel filled with farmers everyday selling their goods. It is all just spread on the ground and the farmers either sit on a small wooden stool--I mean small--like 8 inches tall, or they simply squat or stand. There are hundreds of them. the town consists of a zillions shops-retail, food places and motor repair shops. The entire storefront is open when the business is open, a metal rolling garage like door rolled up. The sidewalks are some sort of brick pavers and the stores all have tile steps and floors. Every single retail place has a speaker out front with music blaring onto the street. Near the hotel there is a three way intersection with a crosswalk and arrows indicating turn lanes. the motorbikes (of which there seem to be one for every person, and the taxis (which is a motorbike with a small covered trailer taking the place of the back wheel) and the cars and pedestrians move in all which ways, with horns beeping at the rate of several dozen per second. No one stops for anyone, they just dodge and swerve.
Not far from the hotel is a town square which is a large cement and tiled area with a playground and fountains that are not working right now, but have water in them. Each night, women, and some men, take to the square to dance to music, all in sync. Sort of like a mixture of Tai Chi and aerobics.
As I said before, everyone stares at me, but already, many of the shop keepers recognize me and have stopped staring. I bought a razor yesterday at a Target like store. I had to ask a clerk for it using my Jibbigo translator app on my phone. She took me to a locked case at the front of the store--they only have razors for men. The few men that were standing near the case laughed at me as I indicated that I wanted to buy a razor in the case. I had forgotten that Chinese women do not have a need to shave.
the weather remains cool, which is great because there is not air conditioning in the classroom and there are 65 participants when the room should comfortably (by our standards) hold about 40.
I am bonding with the training team as well as the teacher participants. They are so polite and appreciative of our work. When I gave confusing instructions today for an assignment and then later talked about how unclear instructions can make students feel inferior, or lead to misbehavior and that as teachers we must always be willing to examine our part in student's "failure," they all clapped.
Of course, I'm homesick, but not unhappy that I am here.