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Back to school in China . . . what are your lessons going to look like now?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Ms_Love_, May 17, 2020.

  1. Ms_Love_

    Ms_Love_ Occasional commenter

    We are socially distanced, having a staggered entry, no group work, masks at all times, no think-pair-share and individual desks at least a metre away from the next person. I don't want to devolve into "chalk and talk" but many of my lessons were based around paired/group work . . .

    I just wondered how to keep lessons fun and engaging in these circumstances and wondered what other people are planning on doing , , , It would be good to hear your insights!
    TeacherMan19 likes this.
  2. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    The mask rule has been relaxed by our government so it is optional on campus now.
    Dinner with everyone socially distanced and facing the same way.

    I teach in the early years so I'm not sure how it looks in the older classrooms. But our classes are basically isolated as one class. So within an EY classroom, it's as normal as can be. Same for outside, no seperate classes playing together.
  3. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    The restrictions in China are very much set up with the Chinese way of teaching in mind (all facing one direction, rows, didactic lessons - no wonder Michael Gove seems happy that this is how it will be in the UK, very traditional!) I think you just have to get creative - continue using the technology you have been using but try doing things like groups in Teams where they can be near but not beside each other - encourage them to use the chat function rather than talking if it gets too loud. Think-pair-share similarly - could you use Padlet to get them to debate, or share a document with them online and get each one to add to it, while you project it to the screen so they can all see it and you can comment on things as they are posted?
    Ms_Love_ likes this.
  4. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    That won't be very helpful for hearing impaired children. Why open schools at all, if we are effectively excluding children and staff who have a hearing impairment?
    If it's unsafe to teach, should they be open at all?
  5. 4019775

    4019775 New commenter

    In 25 years teaching on three continents the number of hearing impaired kids I could count on the fingers of one hand.

    Guess there will always be one who finds fault in anything.
  6. MyOrchid

    MyOrchid Occasional commenter

    Doesn't work for practical subjects like Science, either.

    As an aside, those of you teaching in China, how do you manage to teach Theory of Knowledge?

  7. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    @orchid - same way as most schools, I guess? Do you mean just now, or in 'normal' times?
  8. MyOrchid

    MyOrchid Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your reply.

    I mean that the ToK course may be difficult in a country where discussion of controversial topics could be seen as challenging. My students are currently using HK protests as examples to discuss AoKs, and they sometimes refer to Tiananmen Square for History, for example.

    I wondered whether the management of mainland Chinese schools may frown upon such topics and whether there were "off limits" discussions.
  9. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    While these subjects (HK, Uighurs, Tiannenmen, democracy or lack of it) are or would be taboo if they were in a written curriculum, schemes of work or in a textbook. However, most of what I do in ToK is not written down and is more or less whatever comes up during class discussion. If something controversial does come up I always pause for a minute and tell the students that I am happy to continue as long as they are, but that if they are unhappy then they should say so. This includes social as well as political issues. In over twenty years of teaching ToK I don't recall ever having a student say that they were not comfortable with talking about, x, y or z.

    In the last ten years or so I have taught in an international school in China with many Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean and Hong Kong students, who are generally very happy to discuss issues that reflect badly on the mainland Chinese. :)
  10. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    It can be interesting. IGCSE History covers Tienanmen Square, and my colleagues try to cover it in one or two lessons - with the blackout blinds drawn over the door windows, and the rest of us on the lookout for any 'visitors'! We're a pure international school though so don't usually have the authorities knocking on the door. I have had a couple of my TOK kids talking about how COVID-19 started and thinking about how the authorities dealt with it at the start - but they instinctively do shy away from it. One of the difficulty can be initially getting across the idea of open thinking, and I know that speaking to colleagues in other schools it can be a challenge.
  11. MyOrchid

    MyOrchid Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your replies. I agree that not having a written syllabus that can be held against you is helpful, though it only takes one over enthusiastic student to share the topic of a "controversial" lesson for potential problems to occur.

    That kids naturally shy away from certain topics would indicate that the Party machinery is effective, I suppose. That's in contrast to my students who can be very political, sometimes to the detriment of the Tok content of their work.
  12. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Sometimes it can be quite personal (we have some kids whose parents were in the square) but at least unlike History there are other examples we can use in TOK with that unwritten syllabus.

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