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The Class Journal
22 September (Saturday) Income Gap

Along with the great economic development of peopleís living standards in China and the high-level calls for dealing with income gap disparity, more and more people are coming to realize the serious problem caused by income gap, yet how can we solve this problem.

As a matter of fact, there are many ways we can contribute to solving this serious problem, but I think the following ones may be most effective. First of all is a new tax policy. We can tax people, who have more money, we can get more money from them. Then we can use this tax to help poor people. We can let peasants be free from taxes. Another way to solve the problem of the income gap is in education. It is free for a peasantís children to go to school. If people have a good education, they can change themselves for life. We also can give peasantís children free of fees, when they go to school. Finally, we can invest in poor areas,  build new factories, new roads and the like.

When this gap is growing too wide, however, our government should make some policies to get rid of its negative consequences. By Edward

21, September (Friday)
Fake Diploma

With the fast development of modern industry, more and more people are
flooding into big cities to find jobs. So it is of great importance for us
to pay attention to the fake diploma problem in big cities. On one hand,
the number of graduates is growing immensely. On the other hand, many companies only focus on hiring students who have graduated from good colleges.

We have figured out many ways to solve this problem. First, we should allow
more people to enter universities. Another way to solve the problem of fake
diplomas is to publish the graduate students' information. Such as on the internet,
newspapers and the like. Finally, we can make serious policy to deal with people
who make or use a fake diploma.

These are not the best means, and are only a few of the several measures we can take. But there is no doubt attention must be paid to this serious issue and it is clear that the task demands great effort. The government should also take considerable efforts to achieve the goal of eliminating fake diplomas.

9/20/2007  (Thursday)

Yesterday evening we discussed work. Some people live to work. Other people work to live. Some people wish to retire right now, they also want to live in special house just for old people. In there, they can have dinner, and then watch TV everyday.
But in my view, I don't like this kind of life. I want work and study all my life. I have a plan that is I will live to one hundred years old. And at the same time, have good quality life. "I think, therefore I am!" I like my job, I enjoy my job. If I feel uncomfortable, I will change, change company, change city, change position, change industry. This is my rule: do what you like, do what you want to do.
Enjoy my life, enjoy my work.  By Edward
 

9/19/2007

Yesterday evening we first talked about going on a trip. Because one student will travel to my hometown, the XinJiang autonomous region.

I introduced many things about my hometown, such as how to get cheap tickets, where to eat amazing deserts and delicious local food.

Other students also asked more questions about the XinJiang autonomous region. I was very happy that people really wanted to know about my hometown.

After this topic, we discussed which is more important, speech or writing. Someone thought speech is more important than before. Presently, people need to talk with their boss or customers and so on, especially salesman. I am a pre-sales engineer. I really know about this situation.

Also when you speak ,you must think faster than writing. You know I like both speech and writing. When you write, you organize your thinking, when you speak, you must respond quickly.

10,July (Tuesday)
   In the first class we talked about what's the different feeling about space between Chinese people and American people. One student said ,it is undeniable the fact that there are many people in China, so it is really hard to find space
for yourself. But people get closer than in other countries, so many Chinese
people are friendly and pleasant to others. Lydia said she feels safe on
the streets in Beijing any time because there are many people and cars on the
street whenever, but in America the situation is the opposite, you have more
individual space, but it's hard to find people on the street.

Next we discussed vacations, becuase the summer holiday for student is coming. 

  At the beginng of devlopement class Lydia taught us the prefix meaning of some
english words:  bio- (means life) eg: biography biology; chron- (means time )
eg: chronicle synchronize; circum-(means around) eg: circumference; dem-(means
people) eg:democracy  etc.
   Next we did a psychology quiz, the question is about what takes priority in your life listing several factors. Listen to the love story and take the order of priority for
those five persons who you like and dislike ,according the answer we know which
factor is important for you :Home, Business, Sex, Moral, Love. Many students chose
Love is the first essential factor for our life except one student, but we have
various results about last factor: H and M was the majority answer
 

9,July(Monday)
Today,Lydia came back. In our first class, students asked her why she didn't come here over the last two weeks, She told us all the things happened to her: she got a serious fever, and met a famous chinese director who she didn't know before, how she bought Asclepius in the pharmacy store, the clerk told her that the medicine like that won't be sold until she had doctor's prescription. We discussed the development of the medical system in China in recent years in the development class, we discussed many things, such as books, movies, and finally we discussed bilingual people. Such as learning a second language becoming bilingual. One student thought many Chinese people are bilingual because they are familiar with mandarin and the dialect of their hometown, then the other students disagreed with it, because both have the same sentence structure and grammar, but just have a different accent or a few different characters.
 

7/03/2007

Tonight we discussed music such as what kind of music you like. Some students like music just a little bit, while others like music very much. Music is their life.

In the past, people listened to music by record.  Today we just use the mp3 format. It's more convenient.

We also studied a bit of music history. Our teacher told us that in the west, people can not play eastern music better than eastern people, and it goes the same for eastern people playing western music. Because for them, the musicís system is different. This is the first time I've learned about this. I think itís very interesting. I would to like to study music sometime, and better understand it. Edward

7/02/2007

Tonight, Lydia didnít come to class. We had a new teacher; he looks like Santa Claus.

We had a free talk. We talked about jobs such as what time is the best time to change the jobs. One of students said March and September, another student said other months. Some people thought you should find a new job before you quit your current job.

We also discussed what kind of jobs you like. Some people didnít want to work, two people wanted run their own company. One person said people quit their job is good thing, because they can find new job, a nice job.

Our teacher told us some important things:

Rule #1 all dreams come true.

But you must believe it, and you must make (have) a plan.

I agree, if people have a dream, Nothing is Impossible!

Edward

6/30/2007

Lydia is our new teacher. Yesterday, we talked about names.

One of other students thinks her name is not very nice. She wants change her English name, because when she has interviews with foreigners, they all seem to feel a little confused.

Some of students think English names are not important, if you like it, you can choose anything you like.

But I donít think so. I read a book which said your name is important in your life. I agree with it. Our names have our parentís hope; usually a different name has different meaning in our lives.

We also talked about how different eras have different types of names.

A name is very important.

By Edward

6/13/2007

Last night, we discussed logic. This is very interesting subject. Some of the students studied logic in high school.

Some students think that many men use logic to deal with their problems. They think logic is useful. Some of students think logic is limited from a social science perspective.

One of students said, "when the situation is different, then the truths have to change. For one time period, there is only one truth." According to logic's principle of contradiction: It is impossible for something both to be and not to be at the same time and in the same respect. So I believe what the student said to be true.  

We also talked about what people in China call ď 以疑决疑,决必不当Ē.  Or the longer version:

《荀子∑解蔽》:ď彼愚者之定物,以疑决疑,决必不当。夫苟不当,安能无过乎!
 

Google translated this as:

"He's Fools fix to suspected summary suspect, and must certainly improper. When do otherwise would not be said that security can not cross between."

Which I can not understand at all!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tonight we first discussed eating ants. Some of the students said that they put ants into alcohol and then drink it. Supposedly, this is good for people health. Some people even give this as gifts in China; some people dig for them on the roadside. Some Chinese people believe ants have a lot of protein and also are full of good nutrition.

We also talked about how to get low price when bargaining. One student said knowing the right time, such as when demand is low, you can get low price from a seller. Of course, if you organize a group of people to buy something from the same seller, and buy in mass, you may get a better price. Additionally, if you buy things regularly from the same merchant, they may give you little lower price.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

In class, we first discussed stocks. When is the best time to buy stocks, and what kinds of stocks do the students like to buy?  Actually, investing in yourself is a good investment. 

We also discussed how to bargain. If you know the true worth of something, then you can get a better price. However, sometimes determining the correct worth and value of something is difficult. If you don't know how to bargain, you might want to go to the mall or a department store. Because, those places in China, usually sell genuine goods at fairer prices.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tonight we first discussed jewelry.

Question:  What kind of jewelry do you like to buy?

Answer:  One student liked to buy fake jewelry. She said most jewelry has a high price, so you have to be very careful with them. Although fake jewelry is not genuine, they can still be very beautiful and cheap, and you don't have to worry if they get lost too.

In the second class we talked about how to get travel information. Most people get travel information from the internet. However, some people prefer to get  information from their friends.

We also discussed where would you like to travel in Asia.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Last night we first talked about the differences between the US and Chinese lottery system and the size of the jackpot.  Most people want to win a lot of money all at once. But as they say, easy come, easy go.

In the second class we discussed smoking. In what way have you asked your
family members or friends to quit smoking? One girl told her father, "if you smoke, I want to smoke with you." That made her father stop.
Other girl told her boyfriend, "It's either smoking or me, you only get one choice."
Many women had good ideas on how to get people to quit smoking.

Monday, June 4, 2007
First, I want to say thank you to Edward who is helping to write our class journal entries. Thank you Edward.

Topic: When you think of smoking, what do you thinking about? What comes to mind? Association exercises.

Some of the benefits are :
If you see some people smoking, sometimes they may look cool.
Some guys think if they smoke, they can attracts
girls.
Some people think cigarettes taste good.

Some of the bad effects of smoking are:
Smoking is bad for your health.
Smoking can cause cancer and kill people.
If you see some people smoking, you might imagine they are in deep thought,
and for some beginners and non-smokers like Edward, you may feel curious why people smoke.
People who donít smoke think cigarettes stink.
Second-hand smoking kills.

 

Saturday, May 30, 2007
First topic: What kind of car would want you buy ? What features are important to you? Some of the students suggested the following:

- safety-airbags

- brand name

- sun roof

- convertible (open car)

- economical (save gas)

- RV=Recreational Vehicle

- Luxury

- Low maintenance

Second topic: What are some reasons people can cause their vision to go bad?

- watch TV too long /too close

- playing TV games

- lack of sleep

- look at a computer for too long

- reading under sun/in the dark

- bad posture

-bad nutrition

 

Saturday, January 27, 2007
The website, getpowers.com, has been been offline because of earthquake related Internet problems for almost a week and has been unavailable to view recently. However, as of today, its back online.

Over the past few days in class we have discussed the keys to success and happiness in professional life from a western perspective. I plan to write the list and place in on the forum in the next week.

We also discussed the Starbucks Coffee shop that is in the Forbidden City, and how many people find that offensive. Many people said that it reminds them of the attacks by the eight foreign armies in Chinese history. Everyone agreed that the Starbucks coffee there should be removed.

We also discussed supermarkets, make-up, and our plans for the upcoming holiday!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
In class we first discussed why we don't eat in class. I think that is because all students want to concentrate on learning English and respect for what they are doing. There is plenty of time during breaks to eat, so that is when people should eat, not during the class.

We discussed our experiences skating and skiing. It was interesting how the students really enjoyed skating. But we did discuss the safety of skating on lake ice as well as avoiding trees when skiing.

In the second class we talked about Joy, Knowledge, and Listening. These are further necessities for success and happiness in a professional life. Make your day by making someone else's day. Be a lifelong learner, always try to attain new knowledge. And we are born with two ears and one mouth, use yours proportionally. 

Finally, we talked about supermarkets and the differences between US and Chinese stores.

Thursday, January 18, 2007
In the second class we talked about the keys to happiness and success in a professional life from the American perspective. Having dreams, being enthusiastic, and not being afraid of failure.

I think its important to remember that failure is part of attaining success. So rather than avoid it, maybe we should try to embrace it and learn from it. However, I suppose at one point we may get tired of failures and hope to succeed for once.

We also talked about Exams and the Chinese education system. Its interesting to hear students talk about how classrooms are run in Chinese schools. Mainly that the teacher talks and the students take notes and there is not much interaction. Additionally, most of the class grade is test-based, so there is little need or desire for students to participate in class. I would like to hear more feedback from students on this topic in the forum.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Today, Chris and I switched classes. Chris, who is from Boston, usually teaches the beginner class. But today he taught my class and I taught his. We both agree that sometimes its good just to mix things up a little bit and allow the students to hear a new voice and new ideas.

In the beginner class we talked about our hobbies and interests. I found it very interesting to hear some the students hobbies including: Ice skating, Beijing history, travel, art and drawing, basketball, etc etc.  I told them that besides building this website, photography is a big hobby for me.

In the second class we talked about what it is to be a professional and how to conduct yourself properly. We talked about acting as an adult, always striving to improve yourself, and taking control of your life. Making decisions before life makes them for you.

Finally we talked about exams and cheating. I was impressed by some of my students talents and knowledge about cheating, very surprising! Haha!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I think I bored many of my students to sleep tonight because I wanted to talk about Chinese history. Maybe the vocabulary or knowledge of this subject is limited for my students. Its good to mix things up though, we can't always talk about the same things. But
I do easily get caught talking about the website.

Regarding history, we discussed the ideas people had in China 30-40 years ago versus the ideas they have today and made a comparison. I found it interesting to hear my student's opinions.

One student asked my about the feelings of Americans regarding businesses that close factories or stores in the US and build factories or start offices in China. I think it shows that those companies can not compete and shows some lack of management skill. Chasing whatever place that has the lowest costs does not seem like the best kind of management to me. However, in today's world I do hear of businesses that struggle to compete with foreign competition and have to close down. Few people are happy in that situation.

Finally we talked about Carol's favorite song, the Hump Song! You can read the lyrics (words in the song) and the meaning in Carol's Lovely World in the Forum.

Monday, January 15, 2007
I had shaved off the mustache that I had over the past few weeks, and the students did not recognize me! It's funny how a little thing such as a mustache defines who you are to people. So without, my students had to look at me several times to remember who I was.

Cici said that she watched a TV show that scared her and couldn't sleep without having a nightmare, so we first had a long free discussion about things that scare us. May said she was scared of the going to the bathroom and getting swallowed by the toilet. That does sound awfully scary.

In the second class we talked about the Chinese Examination system. In class we talked about how schools in China focus on examinations. It's hard to believe, but the students told me that usually the final exam is about 60% of class grade and the mid-term is worth about 30%. So that means most of the focus of class is on those two exams.

I remember in America many classes might be like this:
Attendance 15%
Class Participation 15%
Homework 10%
Quizes 10%
Special Projects such as Book Report 20%
Mid-Term and Final 30%

So I think you can see that the focus is different from US to Chinese class grades...

If you would like to discuss this topic or other topics we have talked about in class, visit the "Topics we discussed in class" section of our forum!

Saturday, January 13, 2007
First I taught an English corner in Gucheng. That was one of the nicest Modern English locations I had ever seen. It was in a relatively new library, clean and modern looking. In the English corner we talked about entrepreneurship. I often think that there is not enough of that concept in China, because I see so many kids focused spending their days studying in the hopes of going to a good school and getting a nice stable job at a big company. Then I see a large group of unemployed fresh college graduates who have to go back to school because they can't find any work. Maybe my expectations are too high. How can anyone expect a fresh college grad to be an entrepreneur, they have little hands-on real-life work experience. How can they be expected to start a venturing into a new business.

After my English corner in Gucheng, I raced back to Shuang-An to teach the afternoon class. In that class we discussed working for yourself versus working for others. I often challenge my class to consider creating a business, creating value, being your own boss. I think I often do this because I want to answer those questions myself and say why I think that is a good way to live. On the other hand I can not expect everyone to agree!

Thursday, January 11, 2007
Last night we first talked about if students ever felt afraid or scared regarding traffic in Beijing. Some students said they are used to the constant dangers and rudeness. I mentioned that I felt particularly worried about bus loading areas because there usally is a sidestreet nearby and if you are not paying attention, as soon as you get off the bus you could be walking in front of a speeding taxi or bicycle.

Next we talked about banking and money. We first talked about fake money, also known as counterfeit money and what the banks do to fight it. We talked about anti-counterfeit measures in the currency such as a watermark. I challenged everyone to see if they could remember what images are on the backs of Chinese bills. Of course, Mr. Mao is on the front of the money. I did suggest it might be more interesting if they used some different images of him, such as waving or smiling.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Yesterday we continued our discussion about gambling and banking. First we talked about gambling in China. Of course Macao is the most famous place. I asked the students if any of them had experince gambling before or having gone to a casino. We talked about the types of games you can play and what's it like. I also asked each student we he or she be interested in going to a casino. It seemed everyone would like to give it a try, especially the men, and especially if they can use other people's money!

Next we talked about banking, moreover, Credit Cards versus Debit Cards. In the US, where using cards is much more common, most people have a combination of both. Both cards have their advantages and disadvantages. Can you think of what they are? Mainly, credit cards can be thought of as "Buy now, pay later" and Debit Cards are "Buy now, pay now". If you use a credit card, you are borrowing the credit card company's money. There are advantages such as gifts, paying later, and cash back. However, you have to be careful not to incur their high interest rate if you don't p[ay back on time.

Finally, I added a section on the front page to list the English blogs of my students. See here. I have included Sissy's English blog which she is making to improve her English. Let's encourage her!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Tonight we first discussed the interviews and getting a job. This is always a hot topic for my students because for them, English study and improving their jobs and life situation often go hand and hand. We discussed what questions are often asked and how to prepare for them. I thought Ken had a good idea of how to prepare for the questions, he said, simply that he tries hard to know himself. The better he knows himself, the better and more precise his answers will be during the interview. I thought that was a very genuine and smart answer. Rather than simply trying hard to make a good impression to the interviewer, rather know yourself and your answers should be very genuine and clear.

We also discussed gambling. I tried to explain the history of MahJong as I understood it. Simply that it was invented by a Chinese man who wanted to share his love for the Chinese classic story Water Margin (Chinese info here). We also talked about the ethics of gambling and why should it or should not be legalized. Many students said that because of it underground and low-class nature, gambling often does more damage to society than positive in the form of higher tax revenues for governments.

In the second class, we first had a serious discussion on banking. But somehow we got diverted and discussed the positives about women who are very big. How they might be the women of the future. We became so distracted by this topic we did not get much done regarding banking so we will work more on that tomorrow.

Monday, January 8, 2007
I'm sorry, I completely forgot to write the journal entry for this day!

Saturday, January 6, 2007
Today we chatted about Exercise! My favorite subject. I asked the students what happens if they don't do exercise? They said, we have less energy, get sick easily, and our body becomes weaker.

So I asked in what ways can we get exercise in our lives? Student ideas including riding a bike to school or work, doing yoga, getting a gym membership, etc. Finally, some studnet told me what they do and why it was beneficial for them. One girl, in order to stay healthy and lose weight said she uses a hula hoop every day! Wow! Great!

Thursday, January 4, 2007
Happy New Year! Well, we had a special class last night, because it was the only class of the week. First I asked everyone what they did over the New Year break. I was surprised that most people just relaxed and took it easy. No serious travel of excursions of any sort. I found it interesting that some of Pony's family visited him one day, and then he visited their house the next. Pont said this was Chinese tradition!

We discussed which is better, Google or Baidu? I was interested in the students feelings since I had purchased one share of one of those company's stocks. Can you guess which one?

We chatted about the recent snowfall. Many students complained that the white snow was beautiful but the yellow sky was not!

Finally we discussed the new movie "The Curse of the Golden Flower", which I thought maybe the worst movie I had ever seen. But some of the other students found some merit in it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006
Last night we talked about the New Year schedule. It looks like we don't have school until next Thursday. So how will you spend all this free time? I think I will be working on improving the website. Even though most people can't access the website right now because of the effects from the Earthquake, I can still work at it at home. When the Internet starts to work as normal I can use it.

Most of my students have to work through Sunday, then they get next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off.

Next we talked about New Year's Resolutions! I am excited many of the students have thought seriously about what they will try to accomplish next year. I think the higher the challenge, the greater the resolution, the more of a positive effect it will have. I was excited about Sissy's resolution to write a English diary. Janet also said she liked the idea of memorizing words evryday to help her improve her English. Other students wanted to graduate smoothly or get a good job. And other students wanted to improve their health and body.

I think it will be exciting to see the results of these resolutions next year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Well, we first talked about how none of us can access foreign websites, MSN, Messenger, Hotmail, or Yahoo. Because of the earthquake near Taiwan, Internet access has all but stopped or become horrendously slow. I spent the early morning trying to fix my computer thinking there was a problem with my computer. Then I went to China Telecom to pay my bill, thinking that maybe I was late. Finally, I was able to check out a Chinese website and read that the earthquake was responsible for cutting several undersea cables that link Asia with the US. I read on the news this evening that repairs are expected to take from 1 to 3 weeks. That has effected my website, no one here in Asia included myself can access my website at this time.

In the second class we talked more about New Year's Resolutions. Another resolution I want to start is to memorize 10 new words everyday for all of 2007. This is a tough challenge, but the results could be great. I talked with the students to try to figure out how to involve them in this, and get anyone to match me by studying 10 English words a day similar to my challenge. We also discussed that a New Year's Resolution should be special. Though finding a job or graduating smoothly from college is a good resolution, I challenged the class to give me special life changing resolution, ones that require hard work and persistence to achieve.

Finally, we chatted about the post office and sending gifts and cards for Christmas, New Years and the Spring Festival. I learned that in China it's ok to give cigarettes as gifts. I always thought that was an unhealthy habit, so why give that as a gift, but I hear that is common here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006
We first talked about our Christmas weekend. What were all the fun things that we did. I guess some students heard that the party last week was very fun and were curious to ask me questions. Some even spoke about people dancing on tables! Well, all I can say is, you had to be there to see it.

I discovered most of my students worked or went to school on Christmas day. Fortunately, my English school and university classes that are for westerners in China, were closed. I would have felt so sad to have to work on Christmas day, it just would not have felt right. It would be like Chinese people having to work during the Spring Festival.

Later, we chatted about what if they canceled Christmas in China? There was a discussion about that on the forum. See here. So I asked the students there feelings. I also asked why do they think Christmas is more of lovers and commercial holiday than a family and religious holiday in China.

In the second class, we chatted about the Post Office. When was the last time you used the Post Office and what for? I had one student who said she went to the Post Office on Christmas day to send her Post Cards. I thought that was strange, wouldn't she want to send them before Christmas so wish someone a Merry Christmas in advance? But no, she thought she was supposed to send them on Christmas day, that it would be more meaningful. How interesting I thought. In the US we want to send them before Christmas so they arrive before Christmas.

Finally, we talked about New Year's Resolutions. We discussed what they are and why we have them. Resolutions require will power and fortitude. We gave some examples of resolutions such as improving your life and health or fulfilling a dream or goal, or instilling some kind of habit such as memorizing 10 new words a day to improve your English!

I challenged everyone in the class to prepare to tell me one New Year's resolution. So I will expect everyone to give me one over the next two weeks!

Previous Journals
2006