Monday, August 28, 2006

New Internet business that is paying

Sorry it has been a while since I posted as I have been quite busy lately. Here's the latest news. ProwealthSolutions is the newest of my internet businesses. I have kept the posting about that aspect of my worldtour very low keyed but perhaps some of you have been looking for a way to make some extra money. This one has brought in about 200 bucks at the time of this posting which is pretty good considering my small list and it is still in Pre Launch. So I invite you to take a look. It is free to pre enroll, but for those that decide they want to give it a try, I have a special offer just for readers of my blog. If you become a member I will rebate, 20 dollars back to you when my Fast Start Bonus is paid, though Paypal.

Here is the news on the teaching front. I have been hired by Harbin Institute of Technology, the best school in the Province and a tier one University. I will begin tomorrow, teaching oral English, Film, and Writing. So a new challenge new faces and the end of my life of leisure. Well not really, since I have had classes every day during the summer for my own students. I'll be posting more about this experience in the future so stay tuned. This is how you get ahead get money in the bank and build your resume. Just stay so busy you can't spend it. LOL, oh well it's not hard to do if you enjoy your work.

The FOA, Foreign Affairs Officer and the English Dept. Vice Dean are great so that should make for a smooth transition. I also heard that a teacher will be arriving from my neck of the woods, Seattle. So that will also be nice to have a fellow teacher from my home area. Got to go, but I really encourage you to take a look at ProWealthSolutions, it's great to have dollars going into your bank account at home or when you are traveling.

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Worldtour aka Larry Rhoe

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I really love teaching in China

It occurred to me after reading brett's post in the previous post that it's been a while since I expressed how much I really enjoy my life as a teacher. You know if you have visited ESL forums, that much of the talk is focused on what is wrong in China, or perhaps the cultural differences. What fails to get mentioned enough is just how much fun it can be to live this lifestyle. Sure, teaching is a lot of work and if you are new to it there are some thing you will have to learn about the culture and there are also things you will have to re-learn. Most of us don't think about our grammar at all as it is our first language, so some prep time is needed. However as you progress your style emerges and you have to spend less time in lesson planning and good schools have the books chosen so you just have to follow the book and then try to engage the students into a new style of learning. Now that is no small task, so the creative types may have an easier time at it than others. Adaptability and flexibility are two main attributes that you need as things can get all twisted and sometimes management can be poor. Remember that for most that own a school first and foremost it is a business, and there are many ruthless business owners in China. There is not the same business ethic that exists in the West. As long as you are aware of that then you are a bit ahead of the game. That is why it is so important to find out everything you can about a school before you commit.

So I just wanted to say that living and working in China has been one of the most enjoyable and unique experiences of my life. I really didn't want to plod along back home, doing jobs below my education level, contributing taxes to the war machine, and I pretty much vowed not to return until we had a change in leadership. Don't get me wrong I bleed red, white and blue, but sometimes we are powerless to affect change. Having started out as a liberal person, I can say that this experience has truly broadened my world view. It's made me more tolerant in many ways, and it has given me an opportunity to affect lives in a positive way. Hey that's all good in my view. So if I sometimes get on a rant or start venting, it's just a cathartic thing we all do in China. It is that way for everyone that is in another country, you might bitch about it all but you will really miss it, and most come away changed for life and most for the better.

Larry Rhoe aka worldtour

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P.S. Just a reminder if you are a yahoo user or really any of the other sites such as msn you can add my blog to your my yahoo, so you will always know when there is a new post. Or you can add it to your favorites with a news reader that can get the RSS feed.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Teaching Children in China

Teaching children in China can be a very rewarding experience for a teacher. After three and one half years of teaching at all different levels and types of schools, I can say for me the rewards are really great teaching the young children. I use the Cambridge for schools books and I find them to be very good books. I usually get a student when they are about 7 or 8 years old. Many are really at the ABC level at that age and that is fine, for these students I use the Cambridge for young learners books. In some ways this is a better book than the Starter book, which usually follows. I now have students who are in book 3, which is really book 4, and these students all speak better than 90 % of my college students did at Li Gong University. So as I said in the last post, if you get them first or early in their learning you can really bring them along relatively fast and most of them should make the top 5 in their classes in English. Many of my students are at the top of their class in English. I was also fortunate to have a student place at the top level in all of China in the national testing by age group. There are 200 private language schools in Nangang where I live and two students received a first place prize, one of them was mine. So that is very gratifying, and one of the perks teaching the young. At this age they are quite eager to learn, the pathways or roads within their brains are not set as with older students, so they learn English just about as well as they learn Chinese.

The types of problems you may encounter at this level are usually connected with the ability to concentrate and pay attention. I conduct classes entirely in English and only have a need for translation sporadically. For this I use my Chinese teacher or my girlfriend whose English level is high enough for the task. The basic flaw in the Chinese system is they teach English in Chinese, so many, after 10 years of English study are unable to really speak and their listening skills are even worse. At an older age they tend to just tune out. With the younger children with the help of pictures and repetition the meaning and usage of the language flow together nicely. Just about everywhere I have been in China for some unknown reason uses "New Concept" English books. Which is really a misnomer as it is old concept and in my view a terrible book. That is why we are here to expose them to Western teaching methods and I can tell you with certainty that it does work. You can't learn English by teaching it in Chinese. You get no skills in listening and the speaking is not much better. In China the teaching style is much like baby birds in a nest, they open their mouths and you regurgitate your knowledge into them. Any teacher in China has heard the phrase "get or gain a lot of knowledge". This is the style the teacher drones on and on with little or no interaction from the students, is it any wonder that the schools have failed in this regard?

To be fair, my last university position had students who could not get into other universities for the most part because of their poor scores and non existent study habits. They had the money, or rather I should say their parents had money. Most of them were just flushing yuan down the WC. Well that is the way it goes sometimes in China, once the student is admitted to a university he will graduate as nobody receives a mark lower than a 60. You could do absolutely nothing and still graduate. Couple this with no work experience and having had virtually no other responsibilities and you get a pretty pathetic picture of what the future holds for most.

Larry aka worldtour

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shenyang, Another city in the Northeast

Brandon from San Diego commented on my last post and asked some questions about Shenyang. So I thought I would post a little info about that city. Here is a picture of a part of the Shenyang palace complex. Shenyang is one of two cities that have an Imperial palace, the other of course is Beijing. Much of the north's economies are based in manufacturing and Shenyang is no different. My girlfriends comment about the city was there are a lot of factories. This is true. I spent about 5 or 6 days there and my initial impression was that it was a very grey city. Now what I mean by that is that the buildings are like many of the building here in Harbin. Everything is built from brick and then covered with cement, this is common. Many buildings are not painted or it has been a long time since they were painted so there is a general grey feeling to the city. It was not long after I had come to Harbin and it is an overnight train ride so I took off for a while. I had a friend there, a nice gal who invited me to come.

Most of the palace was being renovated so I was not able to see too much of it, but some workers let me in the gate to take a few shots. This shot is taken from the web. I remember taking walks down one of the market streets in the evening, walking around a park that had a lake, a disgusting canal littered with rubbish and green slim. I also remember her sisters 24th floor apartment, which was as nice as many western apartments. This is pretty common in China, 25 year old buildings that are not too nice at least on the outside and in contrast some very nice modern hi-rise apartments that are very nice. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the famous market area. Shenyang has the largest wholesale market in China and you could spend several days and not see it all. You can really get some great prices there, for example, I had been looking for a pack, I had priced many of them in Beijing at about 130rmb or about 15-20 dollars. In Shenyang the same packs were 40 and I may not have gotten the best price possible as my bargaining skills are not as good as they are now. Rollerblades in the stores were about 3- 5 hundred rmb, and at the market, 90. So if you want to do a little shopping it's a great place to do it.

Brandon was concerned with the air pollution. Well, welcome to China. It's interesting because it is all relative to your experience, having lived in Los Angeles in the early 70's, and 79- 91, I saw some pretty bad pollution in the early days. It's better now, as it is better in the North of China. My girlfriends son was just here from Yi Chang in Hubei and he thought the air was very fresh here in Harbin. He may have never really known what fresh air is like. When you have heavy industry and millions of people, and cars and buses, that is what you get, bad air. Probably not any worse than it was in LA during the early 70's but that might mean a brown hanging haze. If you want cleaner air take a job in a more rural area. You may be the only foreigner in that place though, so you trade some of the amenities. Hey if you are concerned about it sign a six month contract and then you can move to greener pastures, this pretty much goes for any place in China, you just never know until you get here how you will feel about the city you have chosen. Do your due diligence and research as much as you can on the net, and always try to talk with current teachers that are at the institution you are considering.


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