"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Field Trip!

The weather in Olympia was gorgeous Thursday and Friday, which helped create a lively and summery feel for Olympia’s Arts Walk and also enabled me to run a new personal best 19.5 miles. It also made my first field trip with my students all the more pleasant and lively.

We spent much of the last couple weeks discussing health and nutrition, focusing on such things as diseases related to bad eating habits, what constitutes a healthy diet, and a project that required students to design their own restaurant with high standards for healthy eating.

The main goal of our program is English language learning, of course; though it’s fun, especially with the advanced classes, to get into some more interesting topics that allow students to grow in understanding of more than just language.

What I’m really saying is that I like using my students to help me learn about things in which I’m interested. J

The standard serious-followed-by-silly pictures (at the market):

We took the bus from Evergreen (my first bus ride since China…made me a bit nostalgic) to the New Moon Café downtown, a restaurant that markets itself as having a lot of healthy options, especially for those with very specific dietary needs. I required my students to write down the ways the restaurant was health-conscious in its menu choices, values, methods, etc.

Then we wandered over to the Farmer’s Market, where I gave my students a sort of scavenger hunt requiring them to find specific vendors and ask questions about their products related to food regulations, health standards, nutrition, etc.

We then walked down to the waterfront and “frolicked” there for a few minutes before catching a bus back to school. Students seemed to have enjoyed the experience. I was a little worried about it not being educational enough, despite my efforts to give them “work” during the trip. I have since realized that students would be perfectly happy with nearly every class being a field trip or a game day.

I’m undecided on the highlight of the morning. Highlight number one had to have been the fact that two tiny Thai girls each ordered more food than I did (and ate nearly all of it).

Highlight number two was observing the growing camaraderie among the group. It’s always special for me to observe a sense of togetherness grow in a community, and I really do believe there is a noticeable change in the quality of the classroom time that occurs as my students continue to become more comfortable with and trusting of one another.

Sadly, there is a lot of turnover at EF, with new students always coming and other students leaving, depending on the length of their stay. Lots of goodbyeswhich several of my students, in light of their impending departure, are dreading.

By the way, that’s a pretty authentic reaction of fear from Chloe (Taiwanese, being “strangled” by me) in that second picture.

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