I think all teachers appreciate finding out that their students are “getting it.” I recently got an e-mail from a students that showed indeed something that I am teaching them is getting through. Yay!
The Chinese school system is focused on memorization as a teaching style, not creativity. So I have made it my purpose to teach what they are missing. I believe that everyone is naturally creative, but if it isn’t fostered or encouraged the creativity begins to shrivel. That’s what I feel has happened to the students. They can’t even summarize a news article in their own words, because they are worried they are suppose to repeat the information verbatim.
In writing class I have been working on different techniques to generate ideas, such as brainstorming. (Just to show you how little the system teaches them creative thinking, my students had never heard of brainstorming before much less done it.) I can tell, through their writing, that the students are slowly improving and thinking more for themselves. But you never really know what is going on inside their brain. That is, until, I got this e-mail.
you know I dont like writing, cos I awlays think theres nothing to write , but now the thing seems changing. I
always have some ideas in my mind when Im writing, I have no ideas where they come from. I think its all because of you.
How great is that! As a teacher (and friend) of this student it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that they are now coming up with their own ideas for the first time in a long time. You know I was worried before we came here. I didn’t know if I was going to be a good teacher or not. I knew I would be excited teaching them, but would they be excited learning? I’m still not sure about all my students but I do know that at least one is now thinking in new ways and that makes me very happy.