2) What is something I/we did that you did not like this semester?
Nothing: Within Chinese culture, it is rare to hear or see a student talking back to a teacher or making a suggestion. That's not how the totem from Confucius rolls. In recent years, the younger generation of China has been wanting this to change. How? That will potentially take a few more generations, I believe, since there are still many educators who let tradition and culture dictate how they should teach and lead. But I have seen a growing number of Chinese students courageously stand up to their teachers for justice. Therefore, when most of my students say "nothing" to answer this question, I don't think they're hiding anything. They sincerely mean it. Even after a second prompting, they stick with the answer. Their faces tell me they're not pulling my leg.
I've been blessed with so much honesty from my students, especially in the midst of lessons, that I don't second guess the trust I have with them.
Tests: Interesting. Just plain awesome. I didn't mean for that to happen.
#ICYMI - In the interview I held with Cicy at the end of last semester, she said something I hope all educators will never forget. "[Some teachers] teach for tests, and it's boring. It makes us not want to learn."
I have given paper tests ever since year one of #TEFL in China because that's what I was told to do. I didn't question the method of assessment. I simply asked how to do it because that's what the school wanted. Essentially, I was really asking the school how I could comply. Not all compliance is bad, but being wrapped up in it had me not thinking nor considering the side effects of this assessment I've been told year after year to use on students in my setting. Those ways have and will continue to be revamped. The students want it to change, and I want what is best for them.
Was I surprised then when "tests" came in a close second place? Not one bit. In fact, I've already cut out midterms and finals from my class since the students receive enough pressure, paper, and persecution with their mistakes and scores. (Side note: A few students mentioned "worksheets" while all of the others sighed in frustration every time I handed out "workbook pages" last semester.) I give tests after every unit, but this is an area I'm going to ask my #stuvoice to assist me with this semester. I'm looking forward to seeing how we can (brain)storm through this process together!