Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon! I’m Duan Litao. It’s my great pleasure to share some stuff on English, American culture and education with you here at the time. You know I have been in the U.S. for a year. Which city ? Do you know? It’s Phoenix, Arizona. All right. Let me show you couple of pictures of it. I select the pictures because they are unique and very American. If you like tall buildings, go to D.C., Chicago, Boston, New York, Beijing or Shanghai. More people, more traffic, more pollution. I like nature.
In terms of my experience, I discovered the most difficult was listening when I got to the U.S..Imaging you fall onto another planet with people speaking a different language around you. I even can’t accept it. It’s embarrassing, frustrating and disappointing. I really have a tough time. I miss you all, my family. But now I ought to say I like challenges, I like different experiences. Because I learn a lot, I know a lot and I benefit a lot from them. As for IELTS, International English Testing System. I took the test and passed it last year. It is composed of four parts. Listening, reading, speaking and writing. The full mark is 9 points and also 9 for each part. I got 7 in total. My highest is 8 in speaking and lowest is 6 in reading. It’s incredible. Upside down. So I am supposed to figure out what the hell my problem is. The main reasons are I lack vocabulary and they speak too fast. I can’t follow them. That’s the key. Then I started to try to broaden my vocab and listen more. Also, I trimmed my pronunciation. I don’t think we can make substantial changes to it even in the U.S..Because our speaking style is already set. Not easy to change a lot to make a difference. In regard to intonation, it’s the biggest problem for us Chinese. We are more comfortable speaking Chinese. We like speaking English in Chinese style. So we can ask our kids to speak faster. It works. So my progress is step by step. Before going to America, I was self-confident, I do well in English. Then I lost all my confidence after reaching the U.S.. With time passing by, I regain some confidence again. And now I am fully confident. I know more vocab. I can follow Americans. I can express myself.
Let’s move to culture. Firstly, go through the National Standards in Foreign Language Education of America, 5Cs. What are 5Cs? Communication, culture, connections, comparisons and communities. Communication stressed the use of language for communication in real daily life situations. It emphasizes what students can do with the target language rather than what they know about the language. Culture means understanding appreciation of the relationship between the students own native culture as well as the languages. Connections: that is to ay languages must be connected with other subjects. Comparisons: to compare and contrast languages and cultures. Communications: extending language learning experiences from classroom to the communities. The society, the real life, e-mails, traveling, going online. So what are the common ground among the 5Cs? Understanding and using the language. That’s the core. Hearing something is easily forgotten. Seeing something, you can remember it for a while. But doing something yourself, you learn it. You probably master it forever. Put what you learned into practice. We should take it into consideration seriously. In my view, reading is the best way of learning English. Listening is NO.2. Ask our kids to read and listen more from now on. Speak in class and write both at home and school.
As far as I know, American teachers apply the theories through games, activities, competitions, e-journey,etc. And they focus on creativity, diversity and interest. The students are interested in the job by doing themselves. They have a lot of fun at school. No human beings, animals or plants are the same around the world. That’s the rule. Keep it. Assign different tasks for our kids in class. That’s my ways of teaching. Stick to it. Don’t care about the results.
My last topic is education. I don’t have time to talk too much on it. So let me put it this way briefly. In the U.S., teachers encourage the kids to work. The students are motivated to be more active in class by doing themselves. They have little pressure. On the contrary, we push our kids too much in China. They are forced to do the job. In a word, we need a balance between them.
I went to the Spanish teacher’s room a few times. I was very impressed. The kids concentrate on their studies. They participate in the activities. Nobody is talking nonsense. So try to use as much target language as you could. That’ll influence your kids directly and immediately.
Thank you for having me! I appreciate it!