Professional Activities and Goodbyes

Group work

This past Friday, I delivered the second in a series of three workshops on active learning. About twenty people attended, including Jeremy. We discussed the theories behind assigning group work, and then I demonstrated the Think, Pair, Share technique and the Pass the Envelope technique. I also explained how to do Socratic Circles and the ABCs of Reading activities. We had vigorous discussions about how to measure students when they do group work as well as how to engage all of them in the group activity. As with the last time I gave a workshop, we went over by about thirty minutes. I guess next time I should just say that it is a two-hour workshop.

That afternoon, Jeremy and I caught the school bus to the new campus where we helped assess our Freshman students. It seems that the English Department needs some formal way to assess all the students every semester. The Freshmen had been preparing to do a re-telling activity for over a week. They were told that they would listen to a story three times, and then they would have to re-tell it to two faculty members. When they arrived at the assessment, they were told they would listen to an informative text one time and then have to re-tell it. Almost all of them panicked. I felt very sorry for them—as did the other judges. Despite this difficulty, they managed to re-tell the information to us.

In addition to new professional activities, the season of saying goodbye has started. This is normal anytime you live in an expat community or a transient community. I haven’t lived in a transient community for quite a while, so I forgot about it. Last Thursday we had a dinner to say goodbye to two teachers from BYU, Jim and Wendy. They were some of the first people we met when we got here. It is hard to believe that their teaching is over, and they are back in the US now. We also had a lunch to say goodbye to Guilia, an Italian foreign exchange student who has become good friends with the JCCC students.  It won’t be long from now that we will say goodbye to all our friends in Xi’an and come home too.