[2015-08-26] What I Learned from Shin Shin English Teacher Training (By Wu Dan)

The 21-day Shin Shin English training program has ended, but I still cannot bring my heart back to my old routine. Whenever I recall the 21 days full of happiness, excitement and fulfilment, I can still feel the warm relationships between trainer and trainee as well as among trainees, and the thrill of gaining new knowledge and new ideas. This is the first time in nearly 20 years since I graduated from college to have such a strong urge to learn. For this training, I was away from home for the longest I've ever been. However, the intensive coursework, highly skilled trainers and their serious attitude touched me and encouraged me every day, making me feel time fly by quickly. In a blink of an eye, it was already time to say good-bye. I cannot express how much the training course has helped me. I will summarize what I've learned as follows:

1) It inspired me to aim higher.
I've been working for nearly 20 years. I became tired of my job long ago. I thought I was only facing elementary students, and only needed to know the elementary school materials. I was willing to forget the tens of thousands of vocabularies I had memorized before. I wouldn't need to use them anyway. However, after this training course, I realized how few words I knew. I was unable to express myself clearly or accurately many times. This training course reminded me that English teachers would need better and better oral communication, pronunciation and language skills while China's economy is globalizing. If an English teacher doesn't push him/herself to learn more, he or she will be att

2) The teaching approach combined theories and practices to benefit me greatly.
This training course was wonderful and colorful. We had a native speaker of English guided us through teaching theories. Two more teachers showed us how to apply the theories to the classroom. We indeed benefited greatly. The two teachers, Ezra Kwong and Neal Carmody were the best I've ever met. Not only did they help us improve our pronunciation, speaking, listening, and writing skills in class, but they organized us to participate in the English Corner during lunch break or in the evening. They taught us some American games and sports. They gave us cards and books they had purchased out of pocket. They refreshed our minds. Their noble personalities and devotion also touched us. We built a great friendship with them during the training course. When they were leaving, I, despite being over 40, wept like a young kid. Besides the native speaker, all the other teachers were down-to-earth and did all they could for us. Besides teaching us the latest educational theories, they gave us all kinds of fabulous curriculum designs and materials from their own experiences. They answered our questions and provided massive resources which elementary students can use, such as cartoon videos, songs, games, and websites. They also gave us guidance in classroom teaching. Then we learned to use English songs and games to arouse students' interest in learning. We should use these methods more often. We felt very lucky about receiving this training.

3) It improved my own English skills.
In this training course, we learned a lot, such as oral communication, listening, curriculum design (including material analysis, needs analysis, teacher evaluations, and process design), different approaches on different types of learners, English teaching theories, methodology, language teaching (including writing, reading, grammar and vocabulary), teacher evaluation, teacher observations, and practical material development. We also attended a seminar: New Ideas about English Teaching in Elementary School. In addition, we visited Si-Ping War Memorial Hall, the Manchu Museum of Si-Ping Normal College and Si-Ping History Museum. Everything about the training course was unforgettable to me. In the 21 days, I made remarkable progress in English speaking, listening and teaching approach.

4) Shin Shin people's love touched me.
During the training course, vice chairman of Shin Shin, Mr. Steve Ting, and his wife, as well as president Yuan Wen explained in detail what Shin Shin people are doing for 340 village schools in China. It touched my heart, as I gained a deeper understanding of Shin Shin volunteers. I will learn from Shin Shin people to devote my heart in my own way.

As an English teacher, I feel the burden on my shoulder heavier after this training course. I thank Shin Shin from the bottom of my heart for this learning opportunity. I will work harder to think more and analyze better in my future classroom teaching to make every student participate and feel comfortable opening their mouths, to make the classroom lively and orderly at the same time, and to make every student feel at home, falling in love with the English class.