Today I asked my students to choose the most important holiday in their home country and tell me how that day is celebrated and why it’s important. I thought this would be an interesting topic that everyone would relate to, and it would lead smoothly into a lesson on proper nouns. (We’d look for countries, dates, holidays, family members’ names and so forth in the students’ papers.)
This is the kind of topic I’d get really excited about in Yantai, only to have the first student say Spring Festival, and the rest of the students say “Yes.” On the way to class today, I was so excited to hear what such a diverse class would have to say, and it seemed like an easy, fun, non-threatening topic that would lend itself well to freewriting, reading aloud and discussing.
Unfortunately for me, I have one student from Haiti and two from the Dominican Republic, so the discussion about Independence Days turned very tense very quickly.