Sunday, June 26, 2005

Job Hunting

Before I take the time to address The Long Answer in reference to my previous post, I decided I had better figure out something useful and education-related to do here. Xu actually does have a project for me to assist him on, an English language evaluation form for elementary students. He won't have it ready for me for a couple of days though, and even then it doesn't appear to be something that I can work on for the whole of the three weeks I'll be here in Shenzhen. In discussing with him what else I might be able to apply myself towards, he indicated that the decision was very much up to me. He suggested perhaps a study on the use of instructional space, and this might be something I may pursue once I have a look at some of the classes. In the meantime though, I've decided to propose a study dealing with second language instruction here. My reasons for this are two-fold. First, because I figure I will have an easier time communicating with teachers whose job it actually is to teach language (and especially those who teach English), than one whose job may be to teach math or science. Second, because I have a background in ESL instruction and second language development is an issue that has grown increasingly important in California, as well as the U.S. in general. I think I would like to begin by producing a paper along the lines of the one written here, but focusing on language rather than mathematics:
I expect to also pursue the issue of how teachers here address those students who move from a different area of the country and speak a different language, thus paralleling the situation of those students I worked with at Hoover and Rosa Parks. My first step will be to run this idea by Xu and Mr. Wong (another teacher I have met here at the Institute). Hopefully they'll be able to give me some guidance within the topic and I'll ultimately be able to provide some insight into how both of our systems may be able to improve their techniques, or at least how they can learn from one another. Look for posts next week about my time spent observing Chinese classrooms and students, my conversations with ESL teachers, and at some point The Long Answer. -joe

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