Monday, April 21, 2008

China:National Geographic may 2008

This is a quote from an article by Peter Hessler from page 46:begin quote
---For three decades the (chinese) economy has grown at an average rate annual rate of
nearly 10%, and more people have been lifted out of poverty than in any other country, at any other time. China has become home to the largest urbanization in human history--an estimated 150 million people have left the countryside, mostly to work in the factory towns of the coast. By most measures the nation is now the worlds largest consumer, using more grain, meat, coal, and steel than the United States. But apart from Deng Xiaoping, it is difficult to credit these critical changes to any specific governmental official. end quote

from page 43 writes one of Hesslers college students that he taught in China,"If I had been Mao Zedong," wrote a tactful student named Joan, "I wouldn't have let the thing happen between 1966 and 1976." But they refused to judge their elders. Eileen wrote: "Today, when we see [the Cutlural Revolution] with our own sight, we'll feel our parents' thoughts and actions are somewhat blind and fanatical. But if we consider that time objectively, I think, we should understand and can understand them. Each generation has its own happiness and sadness. To younger generation, the important thing is understanding instead of criticizing." end quote.

All these English students were Hessler's in College in China when he taught there in the 1990s.

Since Hessler is still in contact with about 100 of his Chinese college students who learned English from him. He said most of them are still teaching English to other Chinese students today in China. I think this next quote speaks to the growing generation gap between todays teachers and their students in China.
Begin quote page 47:
---Although my students were patient with the flaws of their elders, today they seem to feel a greater distance from the young people they teach. "When we were students there wasn't a generation gap with the teachers," wrote Sally. "Nowadays our students have their own viewpoints and ideas, and they speak about democracy and freedom, independence and rights. I think we fear them instead of them fearing us."

A classmate pointed out that most of today's students come form one-child homes, and many have been spoiled by indulgent parents. "We had a pure childhood," wrote Lucy. "But now the students are different, they are more influenced by modern things, even sex. But when we were young sex was taboo for us." endquote.

I believe the western names these students use were chosen for them as students of Hessler to begin to identify themselves as English speakers and to "pretend" to be Western people to more quickly gain thinking and dreaming in English so speaking it becomes second nature. For that is the most proficient way to learn a language.

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