I had an amazing opportunity this week to present a learning strategy to 16 visiting teachers from China. They were all high-school teachers from a large IB school and they taught everything from math to english. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet them and I loved their enthusiasm for learning new ideas and techniques to take home with them.
I also had the pleasure of having several of their students sit in on one of my classes during the week. What a great opportunity for my students to meets students from half-way around the world! My students were quick to learn that students from China are really no different from students in Canada. However, I did appreciate the fact that the visitors emphasized how much more relaxed schools in Canada are, compared to their school back home. My students were gobsmacked that their school in China did not allow makeup, jewellery, tattoos or earring AND they had to wear a uniform.
Here are some of my highlights from the experience:
Kids are kids no matter where they are from! I saw one of the visiting kids had a lunch of french fries, pudding and pop... he saw me take notice and said "my mother is not here... she will not know". I cracked up!
My students couldn't figure out how the Chinese students could text on their phones given the number of characters in the Chinese language. So they asked if they could learn... so out came everyone's phones and away they went! It was so fun to watch them sharing and learning about each other's languages.
Google Earth is an amazing way for students to connect! Despite some language barriers, the kids had a blast zipping from China to Canada and back again to show each other where they lived.
The students were from Beijing which has a population of 22 million! Canada has a population of 34 million. The Chinese students couldn't believe that so few people lived in the second largest country in the world. I don't think they believed me when I told them our population... so I told them to "Google It"... they were amazed to find out it was true.
If you ever have the chance to host international students in your classroom, even for a day, it's a great opportunity for students and teachers alike. I would love to take students to visit a school in another country... maybe I'll have to see what I can come up with! Beijing perhaps??