Friday, October 16, 2009

“I like because Miss always smile, friendly and good looking.”

I'm really enjoying teaching my Cross Cultural Understanding classes. Not only is it refreshing to teach content rather than just English grammar, but the students are also really receptive to the material and enthusiastic about the class. To help promote critical thinking, I’ve allotted 15 minutes at the end of every class for journal writing. I tell them they are to write any reaction they’ve had to the day’s class and prompt them with questions such as, “Did anything surprise you?”, “What do you agree or disagree with?”, “Do you have any unanswered questions?” and “Do you have an interesting story from your life that relates to today’s topic?”.

For the first two weeks the students tended to use the journals to flatter my ego. Entire entries were written about how beautiful, friendly and kind I was. (This is always nice to hear, but it’s not exactly what I had in mind!) Several students took this a step further and admitted that they were very afraid to have a native speaker teacher but that my friendly manner put them at ease and my body language helped them understand what I was trying to say even if they didn’t understand all my words. Some even confessed that they thought Cross Cultural Understanding was going to be a boring class, but now they think it’s very interesting and even inspiring. How wonderful to hear!

Now that we’ve finished week 3, more and more questions are starting to appear in their entries: “What is the better choice between individualism and collectivism?”; “Can you tell about human right in America?”; “How about the respect from children to the parents?”; “I just want to ask to you about the religion and education, are they different? And which one is most important of them?”; “Is Americans also learn Indonesian values or other country?”; and “How American parents to protect their children from bad thing like free sex and drugs?”

Oh yes, “free sex” is a concept of much interest to my students, as pre-marital sex is pretty much taboo in this country. Last week, when we made lists of their positive and negative impressions of Americans, this particular item never failed to make the list of negative impressions. So, we have some rather interesting discussions!

Here’s a picture of me with some students from my CCU B class:

The next two pictures were taken in front of our building, “Faculty of Literature and Culture”:

And finally, here’s a shot of my office, where I spend many hours planning lessons, commenting on journal entries and using the Internet:


  1. What great pictures Julianne!!! I love the ones of you and the students in front of the FSB sign. Adorable!!

    Enjoy those free sex convos. I had to give an impromptu speech to 450 students my first week there about American culture. Immediately afterward, students' hands shot up and asked questions NOT related to my presentation, but mostly about "free sex". :)

    I also LOVED teaching CCU. I'm so happy to hear you're enjoying it!!

  2. Hi Jonna!

    Glad you like the pictures! The students were full of ideas for different poses.

    Wow, I can't believe you had to give an impromptu speech on American culture in front of 450 students during your first week! I haven't been asked to do anything like that (yet!).

    CCU is great. I'm really going to miss it when I have to switch over to teaching speaking after the midterm, but maybe I'll get to teach it again in the spring. Did you teach it for both semesters?