On January 19, English Language Fellow Susannah Bien-Gund visited Chengdu Summit International High School (CDSIS) in Chengdu, China to share language-learning strategies with students and a workshop on grammar games with the school’s English teachers.
During a morning lesson, Bien-Gund first got to know high school students from different parts of Chengdu who board at the school during the week. She shared five “M’s” that could help them in their language learning: motivation, enjoying music, watching movies, making connections with other language learners, and making memorization fun through apps and games. Bien-Gund and the students practiced strategies for learning through music by singing along with “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers and (by student request) “We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift. Students enjoyed the opportunity to share their interests and motivations for English language learning with a native speaker and particularly seemed to like practicing strategies for learning English through popular music.
Bien-Gund then moved on to a meeting with the school’s faculty, where she presented a range of games and warm-up activities teachers can use to reinforce vocabulary and grammar. Though at first skeptical of the value of games in classrooms, teachers at CDSIS ultimately expressed an eagerness to try out some new ideas with their students. As one confessed, “I sometimes repeat the same grammar point in the same way, which some students may say, ‘It is boring.’ So, from this workshop I realize the importance of doing different drills.”
For Bien-Gund, the visit to CDSIS was also a great opportunity to understand the education system in China. She got to visit dormitories, the school cafeteria, and other areas on campus with teachers and students, and she benefited from discussing different educational experiences in China with students, staff, and administrators.