Monday, November 3, 2008

Elementary & Junior High in China (October Insights)

School continues to go well for Elizabeth and Anna at the BISS school. Elizabeth observed that the academics seem easier than schools back home, but the standards are very high. They expect work on time, neat and with appropriate detail. There is a strong emphasis on multi-sensory learning. A book project involves not just reading the book, but exploring the culture, writing reports, doing art projects. The visit to Xian resulted in multiple projects to take advantage of the experience. Anna’s 4th grade class has been studying ancient civilizations, again drawing on their visit to the Great Wall. They also have gone to an archeology museum so they could engage in a “dig,” and have been making a model of an ancient and modern civilization.

Elizabeth is on the soccer team and took part in an all-day soccer tournament with other international schools. BISS is the smallest school so perhaps their sports success cannot rival their larger compatriots. But they won the sportsmanship award! We were very proud.

With a highly diverse international study body, the school emphasizes multicultural understanding. We've learned from conversation how the word "okay" has quite different meanings in different cultures. To an American it typically means "go ahead" or "that's fine." In Asia, it may merely mean "I heard you." This can cause big communication gaps if the question is "Can you take care of this problem?" "Okay." Hmmm.

No comments: