Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I've never seen my girls so nervous before. With the video camera in their faces, they giggled or stood frozen in place or even quivered around the lips. It probably didn't help calm their nerves that a tall, blonde American was behind the camera.
Videographer Ian Bennett visited our school campus yesterday to shoot my tenth graders for what would become an online Chinese lesson available to students around the world. The project is called OneWorld Classrooms, a cross-cultural model of educating students using the arts and the Internet.
"As our world becomes more interdependent and the problems we confront more global, it is critical that our young people gain knowledge, skills and attitudes that prepare them to enjoy the benefits and accept the responsibilities of global citizenship," according to OneWorld's mission statement.
My students were responsible for one lesson containing school-related vocabulary words. Ian filmed them speaking the words and using the words in sentences. My students also performed two skits using the words and demonstrated their calligraphy by writing the words. Despite obstacles -- trains going by, fireworks going off, working around the students' busy schedule and my students' sudden shyness -- I think the final product will be excellent.
And a note on shyness -- I am painfully, embarrassingly shy, but teaching has pushed me forcefully out of my comfort zone. In some students, I see the same hesitance to speak, the same wavering of self-confidence that I felt as a teen and in my early twenties. So I have made it a point to make my students (especially the girls) less shy. I think this experience will make them just a little more confident speaking in front of others and more confident in themselves. In class, I always tell my students, "Don't be shy, just try!" I really want for them to apply this to life as well.