Tuesday, August 14, 2012

EFLJ Welcomes Juan Wang

From left to right: Leo, Juan, and Simon
Xidian University professor Juan Wang introduces herself to the EFLJ community. Professor Wang is with us for the 2012-2013 academic year as part of an exchange agreement with Xidian.She will teach introductory and intermediate Chinese:

It is my great pleasure to have this opportunity to be at MWSU for the academic year. I have been teaching engineering students English at Xidian in my home country for 16 years. In the last 8 years, my research and teaching have mainly focused on helping students acquire the English language to communicate rather than simply know about the language.
Ms. Tiantian Zou was among the first teachers who had the opportunity to go abroad in our department. (It is interesting that young teachers in other departments at Xidian have a lot more opportunities to be visiting scholars abroad than language teachers.) She shared a lot of her experience in America with our faculty members, which inspired me to shake up my comforting routines for a change. Besides, an increasing number of students are interested in American culture and are motivated to learn English to communicate. Many students consulted me about life and study in America, and always what I shared with them is from books and the internet. Experience in America will help me get a better perspective in seeing how living in America may look and feel. I will be flexible enough with open eyes, an open mind and an open heart to gain an insight here.

The family experiences 1950s Americana
My decision to come to MWSU is partially influenced by my son. I am a devoted mother and enjoy time with my son. I rediscovered the wisdom of many classical Chinese literature for kids such as “Sanzi Jing”, which is usually translated as the Three-Character Classic. ( The "poem" consists of a series of couplets of three characters. The complete text is less than 1200 characters but in that limited space it manages to enumerate all of the salient features of the Confucian tradition, to list the dynastic history of China, to provide a roadmap to the Confucian Classics and to state the basic belief in the inherent goodness of mankind, the importance of education, filial piety and family and social relationships.) Also as an English teacher, I have been teaching my son English at home, which allowed me the possibility to observe and gradually understand the learning process of a foreign language as a beginner. This led to my interest in teaching Chinese to beginners of different cultures. Personally I feel I am more prepared for teaching Chinese and Chinese culture since I collected and learned so many materials in the past years with my son.

I worked a lot on learning strategy research in China. Having worked with a team in learning strategies and learning styles heightened my sensitivity towards diversity and made my work within the curriculum and classroom more inclusive. I believe my experience in the past years and my passion in teaching can help me create an environment that promotes students' learning of Chinese and Chinese culture at MWSU even though it may be very challenging. I am learning English and American culture here and teaching Chinese and Chinese culture. This in fact is a win-win experience.
China is developing and changing rapidly. I would like to introduce modern China to the community. I believe in the future more of our faculty members from Xidian and students at MWSU can benefit from the exchange program.
I love cooking, traveling and reading. I also have great interest in child education.

Simon has his first bison encounter
I love my country and would like to introduce Chinese culture to the students and the community. Chinese people love to eat, and this is especially true for me. I love cooking and can cook a lot of different Chinese foods. I would like to introduce and share some of the traditional food with my students and even the community, especially on Chinese festivals.
My family has travelled to different parts of China and has enjoyed different Chinese cuisines. In fact, we can understand the culture and customs of a country from their traditional food. A new television program this year (2012) in China entitled “A Bite of China” (舌尖上的中国) has broken all audience records which highlights the geographical, historical and cultural dimensions of what Chinese eat and why. I will also introduce many other aspects of Chinese culture to our students here.
I grew up in Shaanxi with 3 siblings (two elder brothers and a younger sister). This is the first time for me to be so far away from home. And my mom cried when we left. There is a saying in Chinese “儿行千里母担忧” which means “when the child is away, the mother will pray.”

I met my husband while we were college students. It has been 14 years since we got married and we have never gone more than ten days at a time without seeing each other. Our son is turning 10 years old this December. As a family we enjoy traveling, reading and spending time outdoors climbing mountains. We have explored around the campus and love it very much.
All the faculty members and people here are so nice, offering a lot of help to make us feel at home here. I believe this year will be most rewarding and I am glad that I am here.
--Juan Wang

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