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(…)

Dinner with the Yu Family

One late summer evening before the sun went down, I was at dinner and had what appeared to be a glass of Chinese wine at an open air restaurant from across the campus.  Children surrounded me.  It was cooler now and all the neighborhood children were playing.  One by one they came by my table(…)

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”.

Trauma or drama – That is the question

In this podcast I describe the first day of teaching drama class, noting that I was totally unprepared for the experience. I anticipated teaching “English as a Second Language” to college seniors, but this changed as the college administrators asked if it “would be convenient” for me to teach drama as well. With doubts coursing(…)

Back to School: Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, Boom!

They were a tough crowd. I introduced my first two literature classes to my concept of learning as a journey. At first their faces were impenetrable masks. Then I told them, “Even in America we know about Chair Mao’s famous Long March, and the founding of the People’s Republic of China.” Their faces lit up(…)