Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 6: Round 2/3 of classes

May 6 after lunch:

The weather is beautiful, in my book. We returned to the honor room in the Literature department around 2 to wait to be taken to the next classes. We decided that a few of the groups should switch after an hour instead of being in a class for 2 straight hours and we were divided up into 4 groups this time, our original groups. We were taken to a class on the first floor past the giant mirror near the front of the building (it is giant). I feel so foreign entering these classes and the kids smile, gawk, and laugh, along with perplexed gazes. We decided to start with a stretch and moved all of the tables and chairs to the sides of the room, formed a circle and Jamilah led warmups. We then divided into 3 smaller groups and Sunny, Milah and I facilitated each group, asking questions about dance, health, activities and whatever conversations spawned from there. It is easier to encourage people to talk in smaller groups because they get more of a chance to speak and allow others to assist them with words without feeling mounds of pressure to hurry a statement up in front of an entire class full of peers and strangers.

After about ten minutes we circled back up and then decided to teach Salsa...because it seemed to be working and entertaining. They enjoyed it, especially when I threw in a few 'fancy' moves that 'look cool.' I am thankful that I have dance teaching experience and am the daughter of a teacher/dance teacher otherwise I wouldn't know what the hell I was doing ever. It is really fun. I like feeling like a student and facilitator at the same time. I don't really consider myself as a teacher here, nor any of us, because the angles seem to be more at an equal level rather than us coming in at a teaching angle. I like the cultural exchange and exchange of learning, excitement and entertainment. Sometimes they ask questions and other times I ask questions and sometimes we just perform for each other, giving nonverbal communication.

During the smaller group talks I asked what they did outside of school work. Some play piano, some sing, some like to shop, basketball, table tennis, tennis, swim. It is interesting that the hobbies are as different as the hobbies amongst American students. Some say they are lazy. Some students are very shy while others are fairly vocal, but the majority tended to be more shy at the college level. Cathy was in that class with us, one of my penpals. It was the first experience actually doing something on our was fun but new because many of the students had a decent handle on English but not fluent. A lot of the times there is one or a few people will have talk most of the time and sometimes translate. Most students studying English learn it for multiple years but have no English speakers to practice with, which is why many students are excited to have us at their school for a few days. We have English corner on Tuesday, which is a program led by students that allows students to just go practice English speaking together outside of class.

After the lesson, which took many people awhile to grasp the harder steps, but went well overall, we took pictures and exchanged some emails.

Then off to the next class. The tables were already pushed to the sides and there was a powerpoint on. I guess later on we found out that they had a presentation for us but we didn't realize it and started our lesson. But there was no protest so we did not know. We skipped the isolation warm up and moved into small group conversation. Some similar questions and answers but also some different ones. Sometimes questions are misunderstood or not understood and the answers do not always correspond. It is interesting to struggle together. When we moved into the salsa lesson it is usually difficult how to communicate to get a partner and then divide up the partnership by leads and follows so I have learned to use a visual demonstration of the process. It is fun, I like what we're doing and each day brings a new agenda, despite whatever we thought we were supposed to be doing...

The second class was also fun but we were getting tired. A group of 4 girls held hands and did a 4-way Salsa and wouldn't split up until encouraged to. One told me that they were creative. They were. After we circled up again and discussed what happened and comments. Some said it was sexy. We asked why we dance. Some said for boys, expression, happiness, joy, because it's sexy...haha everything.

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