Drama – Chinese students step up English skills
I asked a Chinese professor at the university if a foreigner has ever taught Western drama to college seniors. He said he had never heard of it. A check on Google reveals nothing. I believe I am the first, which is quite an honor. This may be the result of students clamoring for more than basic English and literature to further sharpen their skills.
The Government-Issued Literature Textbook
I describe the government-issued anthology textbook for Chinese Students. It is good, but has the obvious deficiency of containing only snippets of the greater works. A story by Steinbeck, for example, has only one chapter.Â So this is just one reason why I began the semester with an allegorical novel about following your dreams.
Will Chinese Students One Day Appreciate Thoreau?
With the fast pace of growth in China and its emphasis on modernism, I wonder if my students will one day come to appreciate Thoreau’s ideals, especially his love of nature and his concern for the environment.
In this literature class I help Chinese university students decipher passages in Thoreau’s essay, “Reading,” pointing out that it may take multiple visits to his works — a journey over a span of years — to gain more understanding. I also answer a student’s question into why Thoreau thought reading the classics, preferably in the original Greek and Roman, was so important.
Thoreau: His Life and Times
In this literature class I explore Thoreau by delving into his perspective on life and his motivation for choosing a spartan lifestyle, despite having a Harvard education. I am surprised by the brilliance of one Chinese student’s penetrating question about Thoreau — one that I had never heard before. The whole class works on an answer!
Drama Week 1: Suspended Disbelief
This is the first day of drama class. I enter the classroom posing as a doctor, wearing a white lab coat, surgical cap and stethoscope around my neck– all borrowed from a medical student at the university. For this mini-drama, I carry my Medical Terminology textbook and introduce myself as “Doctor Matt”.