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  • Nova Scotia High School Program Beijing No. 25 High School 55 Dengshikou Dajie Beijing, China 100006
  • Contact Person: Mr. Robert Fyfe Principal
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Open Lessons: Chinese teachers visit Beijing No. 25

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On April 22nd, a collection of Chinese teachers visited Beijing No. 25 to observe the Canadian staff delivering Western style lessons. The Chinese teachers were generous enough to give feedback concerning their experiences at our school, and comments regarding the potential for applications in their own Chinese classrooms. (Chinese comments have been translated into English)

Drama 10
1.I am impressed by the active interaction between the students and teacher during class time. It’s an effective way to improve students’ oral English. It also makes students participate more and has a good teaching outcome. I will improve my teaching method to let students participate more. 
2. Preparing and performance drama makes me feel Drama is not only a language course. Every single performance can make students have an experience of emotion, team work、communication and know the importance and influence of language.Settings in the Drama classroom look good. Postersand student works are hung on the wall. These settings make us feel students are enthusiastic for this course.
3. Teaching strategies are interesting and flexible. In warming-up, the teacher told students to count numbers by happy, angry and excitedemotions. Students and I liked this part very much. Emotion and mood can not be separated in acting. This is a good way to practice. Ms. Henry’s words used in praise and suggestion are like a kind of art. 


Science 10

The whole class was really the students’ class. Ms. Malcolm was teaching, but not controlling the class so that the students can all participate in the class. It was so different from our so called “open classes”. There were no ups and downs, but the students’ scientific understanding and language could be trained well. 



English 11

1. The class atmosphere is relaxed. Group work practices students’ critical thinking skills. Completely English environment gives students a better chance to improve English, especially in learning western culture and way of thinking.

2. We got the information that it took students four or five days to finish reading this novel. This increases our confidence when we encourage our students to read more English literature works. Moreover, we learnt a good way to teach students how to read English literature, that is, analyzing the personalities of the characters and finding references.



Pre-Calculus 11

1. Students were assigned to groups of 3-4. Each group received different word problems involving arithmetic and geometric sequences and series, simple trigonometry, quadratic functions, or rational equations. They had 10 minutes to solve as a group. Then 5 minutes to explain their solutions to the class; other students may ask questions. If they can’t explain the answers, the teacher would help.
Although I can’t understand math, the teaching method is possible to follow. The teacher divided the students into six groups. All the students have to do the math questions because other students determined who would answer the question. This method can encourage students who are lazy. 
2. We can see students speak out professional vocabulary and sentence fluently. This class makes me think that students have a lot of potential for learning a language. The teacher requested students to use English to discuss and answer questions. Student’s English level is benefiting from long-term training.

I wondered why one group only solved one “word problem”; in this way, can the other five groups have a chance to practice other questions? 



English 12
1. I feel so lucky to have an opportunity to observe Mr. Fyfe’s lesson this afternoon. At the very beginning I didn’t feel anything was that special, but the more I listened, the more I was drawn into his class. What impressed me most was the students’ speaking ability, which obviously resulted from Mr. Fyfe’s teaching method or rather the students’ learning method. Students are learning by doing, called Learning English through Immersion. From the first activity “Do Now” to the last one “Debate”, all of the activities were concerned with doing something, including thinking, writing , discussing, speaking , debating etc. In a word, all the learners were very well involved in doing something, using the language the whole period. With so much speaking practice in each class, no wonder the students’ speaking ability was so impressive. Besides, Mr. Fyfe paid special attention to making the students think deeply in English to come up with their own ideas as well as expressing themselves using the target language. On the whole, Mr. Fyfe’s lesson was indeed a great success from which I learned a lot. 
On the way back, I couldn’t helping thinking continuously of Mr. Fyfe’ s lesson and made up my mind to make more efforts to design my future lessons with more speaking activities and to cultivate the students’ thinking ability rather than focusing only on knowledge. 
2.Activities during class time make students fully participate in the class and also train their logical thinking and build up group work spirit.
3. Students have good English ability and are very confident. It is obvious that students can think and solve problems in a western way. 
4. Mr. Fyfe asked students to express their values. It’s not easy for a high school student but he won’t interrupt students even if they spoke incorrectly. He gave students enough time to express themselves. He gave comments after the students’ whole speech was finished. In our class, we may interrupt students immediately when they made mistakes – this teaching method is not good for students’ confidence. We will change after we go back to school. When students prepared to debate, Mr. Fyfe told us why he designed these activities. The purpose is to cultivate critical thinking instead of telling them if they are correct or wrong and to give students thinking space and practice their thinking skills. In terms of this point, what our Chinese teachers do is not enough; sometimes we only teach students knowledge and what will show up in the exams. We lack the practice of cultivating thinking abilityin our students. 
5. The most impressive thing I saw in the English12 class was the teacher was teaching the student how to be critical and how to think different. I think that this is the future of education. I would like to try to add deep thinking aspects to my class.
6. Students used their own language to express their views and gave me a deep impression. By this way, students not only practice their oral skills, but also practice critical thinking. Students need to express their own understanding while thinking.

7. Mr. Fyfe’s class is a real open class. He didn’t limit students’ thinking and was not afraid of variable answers, because he put himself into the student’s conversations and has a real reaction. There are no right or wrong comments. He is honestly interested in what students are talking about and accepts their different thinking. This makes students want to speak out whatthey are thinking. Mr. Fyfe’s reaction not only makes students want to speak out what they are thinking, but also shows students that there are only differences, no yes or no, and speaking out their own ideas is encouraged.



Biology
1.Two teaching methods gave me a deep impression. One of them is the teacher let students review what they learned by drawing a picture. The other one is the teacher used vivid oral language and body language enlighten students, and then get the answer of a question after discussion. 
2. The foreign teacher makes us feel the function of language communication and the harmony between teacher and students. 
3. The Canadian teacher was very patient in this Biology class. Students had very good oral English, sometimes they ask questions. A lot of professional words were used. Instead of sitting and listening to the teacher, students did the experiments themselves.


Global Economics
It is a great honor to have the opportunity to see the class given by Western teachers. They used different teaching methods and the students were highly involved during the class.
Here, I’d like to talk about the Global Economics class by Mr. Hill. At the beginning of the class, the teacher talked about the news with students and asked students to remember some information, which related the class knowledge toreal life and combined theory and practice. Then, the students formed one circle and asked questions that are required to prepare before class. The teacher acted as a quality control to make ensure the accuracy of the information shared. Most students are quite highly involved in the class and quite confident of expressing their opinions in English. That is how the students learnt during the class and that is how learning happens. Moreover, Mr. Hill is nice and friendly to students and they communicate very well.
Mr. Hill’s class gives us some inspiration to make our own English class interesting and educational. English study can be fun for the students.

We came with expectation and leave with lots of thoughts. We saw so many different things in the Economics class. The way the teacher taught and students participated were totally different from the way it is in an open English lesson in regular high school. We are happy for the students because they learnt things in a small size classes. We are all surprised by the Canadian teacher’s teaching style and the students’ focus and relaxation. The students’ language ability and their way of thinking also impressed us. We really hope our studentscan have the same quality as soon as possible.


General Comments
1. We can see yellow cards work well in the Drama and Science classes (it encourages students to use English in class). In our classes, when students need to answer complicated questions or have group discussions, they naturally want to speak in Chinese. Although we prevent this kind of thing from happening, we still cannot change thephenomenon.
2. There is a variety of class work. Almost every class has 3-4 students in one group to finish various class activities. This way makes students behave positively in the class. We should try this way to organize our classes. 
3. Western education is good at cultivating creative thinking of students. We can see the teachers’ creative mind in designing their class, so under the influence of teachers, students are getting more and more creative.
4. This open class makes us think about the ways of learning English. English is a tool, so we can find articles in other subjects, such as science and technology articles. Some students like getting information from these kinds of articles, so if they read them in English, they can not only know more knowledge but learn English as well. I believe that the effect will be good.
5. These classes are totally student-oriented; teachers are the organizers. 
6. Students have a very strong will when taking the class. I was told this curriculum was needed if a student wanted to apply to a specific university; this could really help the student. 
7.Students in this program have a very relaxed atmosphere. They can talk, they can discuss, and they can drink. They are enjoying themselves while having the class. They don’t have too much pressure on their shoulders. They just come and learn, practice and show us what they got. Everybody is encouraged to go the front and speak. They have started to put themselves into a Canadian environment. 
8.Myquestion is as a student, how much time is needed to memorize and learn a lot of professional words? If students spend too much on memorizing new words of one subject, then what about the other subjects? 
9. It’s essential to read original literature works. This makes students adapt to original writing styles and western ideas.
10. Personal thoughts and feelings are most important when reading original editions.
11. It can not help us get our English classes better in a short time, but this program’s curriculum reminds us that the language is a basic tool. Use of the language itself to teach student knowledge canhelp students take control of both the language and the knowledge, that’s the true genius of teaching language skills. 
12. We cannot copy this experience, but it is a rock ofanother mountain and could be used to polish our jade. (Canadian education has good ideas and methods that could be used to help solve our education problems)


Nova Scotia High School Program Beijing No. 25 High School 55 Dengshikou Dajie
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