A unique summer holiday experience for English teachers

 

by Olivia

Group photo of Amity SEP teachers 2015.

Amity Summer English Program (SEP) was held as scheduled from July 6 to August 3 this year. This summer, 31 participants from five countries took part in the program. The English teachers successfully fulfilled the training task at five teaching sites of cities, provinces and autonomous regions in China. Amity Summer English Program, is designed for Chinese English teachers in remote areas who have very limited opportunities to meet with English native speakers. Summer English teachers usually come from English-speaking countries, and some of them are very experienced in teaching English as a second language. There are three parts of the SEP: Nanjing Orientation, Teaching, Shanghai Debriefing.

Orientation

She Hongyu, Assistant General Secretary welcomes overseas English teachers.

During the orientation in Nanjing, Amity Summer English teachers learned about Chinese schools and the students’ life in China. Then they learned and worked on how to adapt their teaching experience to the following training of the Chinese English teachers.

Teaching in different sites

Soon after the Nanjing Orientation, Amity Summer English teachers headed to their teaching sites. An oral English interview was the very first part of their teaching activities there. Summer English teachers interviewed Chinese teachers one by one. Afterwards they were assigned to different classes according to their oral English levels. Amity Summer English teachers were enthusiastic and devoted and encouraged the Chinese teachers to speak as much as possible. In their spare time, the teachers finished prepared their coming classes. Joining local residents in their daily life was one of their favorite activities. They took it as a precious opportunity to explore and learn about the real China.

One to one training (left). Overseas teachers prepare for the classes (middle). Teaching playful English teaching methods (right).

Shanghai Debriefing

Gwendolyn Cardno, of the U.S.. Consulate in Shanghai visited the SEP and delivered a speech.

After the three-week training with the Chinese teachers at their teaching sites, the Summer English teachers gathered again for a three-day debriefing in Shanghai. During this reunion, they shared with one another their experiences and reflected on their life during the past three- weeks. They also gave suggestions and discussed Amity's exchange programs. The SEP debriefing session in Shanghai was joined by a distinguished guest - Gwendolyn Cardno, the Deputy Consul General of the Cardio. Consulate in Shanghai. She mentioned that Amity had built a bridge of friendship among different cultures through the Summer English Program. People from different places have an opportunity for deeply understanding each others' culture.

Helen Zhao, director of Amity's international exchange division in a group photo (left). Fun activities during the breaks (right).

A letter from China

The Amity Summer English Program supports Chinese teachers with advanced English teaching methods, capacity building and training. But what is even better, these teachers met friends for a lifetime. One teacher from Inner Mongolia wrote the email below to his teaching friend from overseas after the training.

“How time flies! I will never forget the days that we spent together. In the past three weeks, you worked so hard, were so friendly to us. Actually, I miss you so much and I even dreamed of you some times. When I woke up, I was very sad. Now i learn English as you told me. I believe my English will be better and better!”

A different way to spend summer holidays

The communication in this program is interactive and full of joy. Chinese teachers’ diligent work and the warm hearted atmosphere makes all participants to feel very proud of themselves by doing something very meaningful. The overseas English teachers usually think the Chinese counterparts they taught were the best and the cities where they have been placed were incomparable exciting and beautiful. When Amity Summer English teachers shared about their experience in China, many of them mentioned that the SEP was a unique experience. The Amity Summer English Program impressed them much more than just traveling and doing sight-seeing. Amity usually send the Summer English teachers to towns in remote areas. Usually there are no national hot spots for sight seeing or fancy leisure activities. But the hospitality of the people living in these towns provides a unique experience and strengthening people to people relations. The SEP provides an opportunity for the participants to live with each other, share the life with and make true friendship.

These three weeks showed images of China that are not as well-known as the famous places in Beijing or Shanghai to the overseas participants. The SEP teachers lived in those towns close to deserts, mountains or next to the grassland and experienced real life in China in a completely different way. In comparison to the well-known promises of glossy magazines or luring newspapers articles about China, the SEP provided once more a platform for overseas English teachers to make friends with Chinese people and see different beauties of China.