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Podcast 2019
Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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The Language Company
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30 july 06


What A Crazy Month !

I woke up in Zhuhai
Then I went to grammar
And ate a complex sentence
Filled with compliments
And drank some adverbial clauses
Giving me pauses.

What a crazy month!

My warmer got them started
Setting the language table
With TEFL context
Then I savored core dialogue
Modeling with students
Singing methods and patterns.

What a crazy month!

Someone expanded my vocabulary
With articulation and intonation
Stressing vowels and consonants
As I sing, sang, sung a song
Rhythmic sounds
A Big Mouth dinner all along.

What a crazy month!

I created realia
Observed my peers
Returned from a language village
Completely astounded
Kissed peers goodnight
Dreaming in Zhuhai.

A crazy month, what?



23 july 06


We’ve completed week 3 of the TEFL course, conducting 1-1 and group lessons. We’ve been working and finishing a variety of tasks; grammar, phonetics, language modules, and core method teaching techniques.

During this final week we continue teaching groups and receiving observation reports from our peers and trainers. We will complete our teaching portfolio and materials compilation project.

Teachers are coordinating with their groups regarding specific topics and individual lesson models. Everyone is writing lesson plans and preparing materials - illustrations, tapes, and realia.

We finish on Thursday, the 27th and return to Fujian next weekend.

Early every morning in the plaza near the Gateway Language Village, Chinese groups composed of middle-aged women practice red fan and sword martial art dances.

One woman practices her sword techniques alone. Her balance and posture is smooth. She’s very centered in a beautiful calm way. She gently shifts her posture through stances, thrusts, parries, a loquacious dream-like state. Her focus and posture is clear and pure.

When she finished one sequence, an older man rose from the bench, spoke with her, received her sword and demonstrated a section of the movement. She stood silent and erect, breathing silently, focused on him. It was a subtle lesson in clear creative expertise.

As he danced, orange, white and green streamers attached to her sword handle waved. Maybe he never really danced, it was all too subtle and all in my imagination.

I retain this calm warrior vision every day.



16 july 06


We've completed week 2 of the TEFL course. We focused on grammer - the big "G" or the set of internal rules governing the use of language - and all it's offspring; word classes, simple and complex sentence structure, verb tense and time, modals, phrasals, voices, aspects and conditionals.

We also studied and designed sample language analysis, interactive communicative activities and content-based teaching techniques.

We wrote lesson plans and taught 1-1. My student, Saundra 50, spoke very little English. She practiced saying her name using simple greetings, using simple verbs, counting to ten, identifying simple objects; apple, water, banana.

We have many tasks the next two weeks. The primary focus is writing lesson plans, preparing realia and materials, teaching groups, updating our teaching portfolio and filing observation reports on fellow trainees.

We'll teach children ranging from 9-13. We work in teams with various topics; hobbies, family, holidays, weather, and plans/dreams.

Our team rotates through four lesson models with a teacher focusing on a single aspect for their lesson plan to fit the topic: Core dialouge and vocabulary expansion, Reading and Speech (including skits), Listening or Song & Chant, and Communicative Games.

We are busy and totally engaged. Student/teachers are researching potential job prospects, filing resumes on-line and discussing China travel plans after finishing on the 28th.



8 july 06


The first week of the TEFL course was intense and fun. A ton of input. Here's some output.

A quick summary: We focused on articulation, learning Tagalog as a beginner with a Foreign Language Focus, Phonology (the place and manner of word articulation, rhythm, stress, and connected speech) and two teaching methods - Direct Teaching (Core Method) and Self Access (learner directed) - plus listening and reading teaching techniques.

We created visual materials (pictures, illustrations etc.) and using realia - actual objects or props - in lessons.

For teaching practice we presented a 15 minute lesson to the class which was video-taped with a written follow-up self-critique.

Classmates gave us lessons in their native language.

We practiced dialogue in: Spanish (2), Bahasha Indonesian, French Creole, Swiss German, Turkish, Swedish (3) including a Swedish dialect from a remote area, Italian (2), high English, Chinese (2) and Canadian. Andrew invented his own language.

We were all highly engaged, it was very cool and also tiring as we switched tongues.

We scribbled extensive class notes on blank white papier and in a personal Portfolio using green racing ink. Zoom!

After all this, while others hit the bars, I savored a 2-hour full body massage. She hit all the write knot spots. Relaxing, delightful and just what I needed after the desk jockey routine.

Next week we’ll cover the grammar input module, write lesson plans, teach 1-1 every day with a local student and learn about language analysis and content-based teaching techniques.

I’m fortunate to have funny, brilliant classmates. They are a real joy.

A "word" escapes me.



3 july 06


Zhuhai, hi, hello. Hot and humid. English is a tool for communication. Mistakes are necessary.

So, who’s here at the TEFL course for the month? 17 people from various countries and backgrounds interested in developing their teaching skills. Shireen, the teacher, with a friendly no-nonsense attitude and four years here - said it’s the biggest class so far.

We checked in at Gateway Language Village on Saturday and received a room in an apartment complex five-minutes from school. I share a flat with Chris from South Carolina and Carl from Iowa, recent university graduates.

“Trainees” are a diverse lot. There’s Ann, an independent film producer from Austin, Texas; Mel from Cambridge, England with a degree in Chemistry, Victor from Sweden with degrees in Art, Math and Musicology currently studying Mongolian throat singers, Christina from Alberta, Canada working as a rock climbing instructor in central China, Bernie, a retired lawyer from Zurich, Switzerland, and John, an experienced teacher from Uzbekistan to mention a few.

Plenty of good restaurants, bars, slow, internet cafes and a so-so 1-hour full body massage runs Y20 ($2.5). Enough pummeling to get the educational travel tension out with your eyes closed.