A lesson in discipline and respect
One of the high points of my trip so far was the visit to a primary school in Beijing. We visited two campuses of the same school, and I got to observe a second grade maths lesson, a fourth grade music lesson and a first grade art lesson. The English language skills of the children who spoke to us were excellent. And of course, children are children, no matter where you are in the world. There were only a few differences I noticed about the children in the school we visited, compared to the children I teach in America. They stood up and placed their hands behind their back to answer questions. When the teacher allowed them to interact and get noisy, they all became quiet and attentive the instant the teacher called for their attention.
During the art lesson, I was invited to interact with the children and participate in the creation of the project they were making. It was a decorative coaster from a material that was like a polymer clay. There were many colors from which to chose, the "clay" stuck easily to itself, and it will eventually air dry. The students were given a brief demonstration on different techniques, and then they were encouraged to use their own creativity to come up with a unique design. Oh, did I mention that there were 36 six- and seven-year-olds in the room, which was much smaller than my art room? Every child was engaged. Only about two of them did not complete the project, and all of the coasters were unique and beautiful!
As we were leaving, one boy (the one who seemed to be the most "energetic") gave me his coaster as a gift. I thanked him enthusiastically, and only wish I had saved my coaster to give to him in return.