Saturday, March 29, 2014
New School Year Continues
Well, we are close to half way through the first semester. Our semester is broken into two terms and each term is 10 weeks each. We just finished week 8 of term 1. Unfortunately I feel behind on things and will have to do a lot of paper correcting tonight to get caught up. I tend to teach in an American style with lots of student projects, worksheets and short written assignments. Many teachers here lecture and write things on the board. The students then write down and memorize what is on the board. Sometimes the students seem puzzled that I don't seem to have more to say. However, I think active learning is important, especially in teaching English. I am the "queen of the photocopier" here, photocopying worksheet and reading assignments. We had a wonderful new photocopier, but we ran out of toner The last time someone went to buy toner there was none available. I pray that the current shopping trip in Lae is successful in finding some. Meanwhile I limp along with the old one.
I have started two informal conversation groups. Many people have commented that they can read and write English, but don't feel comfortable speaking it. So, I meet with some of the faculty every other Monday. At our first meeting 5 of them came. I have had my first meeting with staff and students on Friday night - 19 came. We hope to meet every Friday and spend some time talking about a set issue and some time just talking. Fortunately, the two volunteers from Germany are helping. One of them, Marlene has excellent English. The other one, Christian, is a good speaker, but makes some mistakes. Fortunately he is a fearless speaker, asking questions when he is not sure how to say something. I think he acted as a good role model for some of the students who also are good speakers, but are shy about saying things. I do have sympathy with the shyness of speaking. When I chat with friends I can do OK with Tok Pisin. However, when I get up to make an announcement in church I really freeze.