What a great day! With the Nokia class, I taught four classes, two hours each. The day was long but exhilirating. The students are attentive, eager to learn, and funny. When asked to pick a word to describe themselves, many picked "shy." They are very interested in American student life. During a question period, one student asked, "How do American students study?" I resisted the sarcastic answer and said, "Some students study very hard, and some are lazy." The word "lazy" is very popular here. Their presentation skills are excellent. At the end of each class, I had a student come to the front and tell what he or she had learned. Here are some answers: "I learned about eye contact." "I learned that my partner had to travel 21 hours by car to get here." "I learned that my teacher is very lovely and kind." (Really loved that last one.) The students are reserved in the usual classroom setting. If I ask, "Can anyone tell me….?" I get nothing. If I call on a student, he or she will rise to speak. But when students are paired up, they become animated and talkative. They are quite good conversationalists, even with struggling English. Here’s a surprise: Big, Bang Theory is a very popular TV show, even among the Nokia students. They know when the new season starts. One of the Chinese teachers even shows clips of it in her English class.
In the Nokia class, the topic for the evening was "Company History." I thought that this would be pretty dry, But no, over the weekend, Nokia had a big shakeup. The CEO and the head of the smartphone division are out. I didn’t even know Nokia made smartphones. They have a lock on the China market (Blackberry is banned) but many of the Nokia employees use the iPhone for their personal phone. I guess that was a big clue that there was a problem. The students explained to me, a naive audience, about the ins and outs of the smartphone market and I taught them the idiom, "Nokia cleaned house." It was a great night.