Friday, September 05, 2003

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I arrived an hour early and scrambled around campus this morning to find a Chinese textbook because the bookstore is sold out. No luck. So for twenty minutes I went in to the graduate student library. On the second floor is a reference and reading room, which is absolutely beautiful, just like I imagined a university library should be: dark wood panelling, lamps on the tables, a high vaulted ceiling painted with figures from classical mythology. And quieter than any place on campus I've visited. We'll see if this beats studying in the Michigan Union study hall.

This morning was Chinese class - listening comprehension. The teacher would read a question using one of the lesson grammar patterns and students would translate to English, then try try to answer. Our teacher will not call on people, she begs us to volunteer. Somehow it's working -- I expect that in the long run this strategy will pay off. I can see how it could possibly backfire: students never respond, and the teacher gets frustrated. But I think that if they teacher responds positively to student answers and lightens the pressure ("This is not for a grade," "now is your best chance to practice speaking."), then students will gain confidence and not need so much prompting.

This afternoon the Diag saw the holding of the annual Festi-Fall, basically a club rush. Only a few political clubs, lots of ethnic clubs (geez, how many Asian American clubs do you need!), fraternities and sororities, and sports groups including the table tennis club. Of course, I flubbed my first impression by called the paddle a "racket." Argh. Weird clubs: the board game club, the knitting club, the gamers' club, the squirrel -- if you come to Ann Arbor, you will understand -- club. Of particular interest is a magazine of Asian American culture produced by students here on campus: Shei magazine. I mainly visited the church and Bible study groups -- Harvest Mission is great, but I want to give other groups a chance.

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