Friday, July 27, 2012

Now an English Teacher?!?

This morning I was invited to be a guest teacher in Fikry's English language classes.  I had prepared a list of questions to ask the students for written responses.  As I arrived in Fikry's classroom he also requested that I speak a little bit about holidays and festivals in the U.S. as that was the next item in his students' textbook.
Presenting Fikry with a "thank you" for letting me visit his classes today

I began each of the four 70-minute classes by having students to fold their sheet of paper in such a way as to produce the outlines of eight boxes.  In each box I asked the students to try and write five things that they could think of to answer the following eight questions.  I had told them ahead of time that I was the only person who would read their papers and that I wanted them to be completely honest in the answers.  A couple of the questions were more about just warming them up in this exercise while others will be used when I return to the U.S. to help compare cultural perspectives.
  1. What do you think of when you first wake-up in the morning?
  2. What do you think about your teachers at Krida Nusantara?
  3. What are some positive things about Indonesia?
  4. What are some positive things about the USA?
  5. What are some negative things about the USA?
  6. What are some negative things about Indonesia?
  7. What are some positive things about life in a city?
  8. What are some negative things about life in a city?

I suspect in some places there will be strong similarities between the responses given by students at Krida Nusantara in Bandung, Indonesia as compared to those given by students at Southmoore in Moore, Oklahoma...especially for questions 1, 2, 7, and 8.  I am more curious as to how questions 3, 4, 5 and 6 will compare.  I plan to create word clouds (either by using Wordle or by using Tagxedo) to help give a visual comparison to the responses for the respective perspectives on Indonesia and the U.S.  Once I have the word clouds completed I'll post them in another entry.

The remainder of class was a brief discussion of holidays.  I began by helping the students discuss the similarities between the Indonesian and American celebrations for Independence Day (August 17, 1945 in Indonesia).  There are many common elements with government and civil sponsored ceremonies which emphasize the flag and the national anthem.  Political leaders often make speeches.  There are parades with floats, balloons, and marching bands.  And there is FOOD.

We also spent time discussing the history of Thanksgiving and its common practices today.  I know that it was very had on these students who are trying to be faithful to their Ramadan fasting because a discussion of American Thanksgiving must involve some discussion of food.  We then transitioned into having the students identify some things for which they are thankful.  Family, friends, teachers, and faith were all things that were included...sounds much like what an American student might include on his/her list (along with cell-phone, car, and other technological gadgets).

We spent a little bit of time discussing how Halloween is commonly observed in the U.S.  Again, the talk of candy was a bit hard on the fasting students.  They seemed to enjoy hearing about the costumes of ghosts and goblins, but got the biggest kick our of hearing that many children will dress up like political leaders including President Obama.  I had the students practice saying "trick or treat" to which I immediately followed by passing out a round of gifts from the U.S. (I had so many items donated by Southmoore and other local OKC organizations that I have been passing out items in classes all week...THANK YOU to everyone who donated...the students LOVE these gifts).
sporting her new watch from the OKC Thunder

modeling his SaberCat shades and holding up a postcard from an American student


The evening entailed a trip out to one of the local shopping districts where Daniel, Betty, and I dined over a traditional delicacy from the Bandung area: ox-tail soup.  It was WONDERFUL.  The meat was so tender and the spices were amazing.  Dinner was followed by a viewing of the new Spider-Man, while in Indonesia I've now seen both Batman and Spider-Man.

Tomorrow we are off to an elementary school.  I'm so excited to visit some of Indonesia's youngest students and share the postcards from Briarwood and Oakridge students!!

1 comment:

  1. Great exercise for the kids to do! It sounds as though you are having a wonderful time. Those kids in the pictures look thrilled to be there....:)