Learning in Action
2016 Shining Future Scholars - American Students in China
Today was our American students first trip to the free markets of Beijing. Shortly after giving them a mini lesson aka strategy on bartering, one of our Shining Future Scholars- Nicole came back and said excitedly: “KAISE! I JUST PAID 120 for something they wanted for 450.” This is truly a first-hand cultural experience for our American scholars! In the shopping malls of the United States, prices are set and there is no bartering. We go into the stores, choose the clothes we like, and check out. We pay for the prices marked. Yet, in many shops in China – especially the free markets – bartering is part of the cultural norm. The Chinese are skilled masters of bartering and today, our American students had their first taste of participating in this cultural phenomena.
Often, in terms of language and exchange, people questions: “How much can we truly learn in a short few weeks?” The simple answer is plenty. In just one hour, our students already had a meaningful exchange with the locals of Beijing and acquired the cultural skill of bartering. These meaningful cultural nuances are close to impossible to fully experience in just a foreign language classroom setting. Furthermore, they already practiced the Chinese phrases they know in a real life setting – because they have to. These real life usages and interactions are how language is acquired and cemented into the minds of learners.
We often hear students lamenting that they’ve took 6 years of French or 3 years of Spanish or 7 years of Chinese, and yet, they’ve virtually forgotten everything. Why is that? This is because these lessons are isolated. They don’t use them in real life, thus, the brain does not see the need to retain the information beyond tests and finals.
At Shining Future, we bring language learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. Our highly structured and proven curriculums incorporate authentic experiences, real life practice, and meaning exchanges for our students. We make language learning fun and through these joyful experiences, our students learn and retain the language.