Saturday, November 14, 2009

What are some things people have strong opinions about?

I know, I haven't been posting much lately and here I am six hours after my last post. I don't know what to tell you other than it's Saturday and I happen to have a decent amount of free time to myself.

That and my last class tonight got me thinking...

It's my favorite Wow class. Those kids are just awesome and it's encouraging because rather than simply sticking to the book, we have actual conversations. Sometimes it's about complete crap — let's just say you can tell I have a bunch of 13-15 year old boys in my class — but sometimes it's honestly inspiring.

I taught this QA twice this week. Once in my Thursday night Wow class and once in my final class of the week which is the same level.

"What are some things people have strong opinions about?"

Honestly, I went into it a little freaked out and kind of not knowing how it would go over because I don't know many hot button issues in Taiwan (Cross-Strait Relations... yeah that's it). Turns out a lot of them are similar to those of Americans (and anywhere else, duh): politics, sports teams, religion.

One thing that I anticipated having trouble explaining — abortion — ended up not being any trouble at all. The kids just knew.

Thursday when I taught the QA, though, it was like pulling teeth.

I went through each of the ten or so options and then, like I always do, I asked the kids to try to think up a couple of their own. They had nothing.

Of course, I can never get that class to talk Apparently it's not just on my day, they also don't talk on my co-teacher's day. But I thought I could get something out of someone. Eventually, I just added education and health care to the list so I felt like I taught them something.

Well today when I taught the same QA, my kids gave me so much feedback I could hardly keep up. We ended up with 15 extra answers including: sexuality, climate change and immigration.

Sometimes it's funny to think that even half-way around the world they're thinking about the same issues. Granted Taiwan sometimes seems like a little America and climate change certainly has a global effect. But — despite the fact that I sort of (really?) am an immigrant — I don't think of this tiny island as a country with major immigration issues.

That just goes to show how much I know — and how much I am just like all of those other self-important, self-absorbed Americans out there.

I think I learned just as much as my 15-year-olds did today.

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