'Steve,' said the Chinese PhD student who comes to observe the session, 'I think they have some ideas, but they are too shy to speak.'
Well, some intercultural communicators they are going to make in that case, huh? I ascertained that nobody really had anything to contribute, repeated the instruction for next week, and sent them all away.
Last week a lad in the class told me that in China, if you disagree with your teacher, you will be punished. My constant elicitation of their opinions and reactions must therefore strike many of them as a rather sadistic way of setting them up for a fall, and however much I try to convince them that we are not dealing in Right and Wrong on this module, nobody really believes me. Anyway, I think my deliberate shock tactic might have worked, as in the evening I received this rather touching e-mail:
I apologise to you on behalf of the whole class , we do not have any excuse for our own lax. And I promise you we will do better in the future, I will also supervise them in my own good premise.
Please forgive us for today , we will show you in the future.And thank you for been a good teacher to us as you always do.
P.S. we all did printed and read today , so the next time you can be at ease to our class.
In the afternoon, I had a session with a group of lecturers from Thailand. They are preparing presentations. They are a delightful group, dedicated and good humoured, and made a welcome change from the silent Chinese kids. The presentations will be made tomorrow, in the presence of His Mind-Boggling Pointy-Headedness The Dean, who is in for a treat; five groups have prepared reports on that perennially fascinating topic, 'the best mobile phone deal for overseas students'. I have tomorrow afternoon off, most unfortunately.
I leave you with a puzzle. On, a young man from Thailand, is putting a request to me. We are standing next to a printer in the computer lab. Only I have the password to the printer. On the PC screen of On, there are bar charts, pie diagrams, graphs and what not, detailing the preferences of Thai, Chinese and Cypriot students for Virgin, O2, Giffgaff, etc. On says:
'I knee ping lea saw'
Spare a thought tomorrow afternoon for the Dean... Given the context, what did he mean? Answers in your very best typing, please.