Learning Chinese does not have to be from a textbook. Our High School Mandarin teacher Wai-Mun Ho, has taken a different approach. Recently he started an exciting virtual exchange with our technology coordinator Andrew Chiu. They connected our FM4C class with two other schools in the world. One is in the States, Rock Spring High School in Wyoming. The other is in China, Guangzhou American School. Using the blogging platform WordPress, our school was part of a three-way asynchronous conversation. Students uploaded videos and posted blogs. Indeed this project was a different way to provide language practice for our students.
AIS students’ cultural and language knowledge improved from this activity. Although the Guangzhou class was studying Chinese literature, the interaction provided authentic Chinese conversations. Furthermore such dialogue gave our students greater confidence in speaking and writing. Likewise the AIS students enjoyed receiving questions from their American counterparts. Students developed a wider perspective through other students’ viewpoints. Hence this project supported Mr. Ho’s academic goals.
This exchange has helped our students develop meaningful relationships. Over a short period of time, our students established cross-cultural friendships. To have deep conversations, our students initiated self-directed improvements to their language skills. Thus authentic relationships also has the added benefit of motivating learning.
Mr. Ho is one example of a teacher integrating technology into the classroom. His willingness to try new pedagogy has been well received by students and parents. Mr. Ho feels this project will prepare his students with skills beyond university. We look forward to hearing more from Mr. Ho’s class project in the weeks to come.
From AIS Eagle-i