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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Liao,Bonnie on 2012-07-11

Dear Parents,

Today was a quieter day. Instead of the second period of classes in the morning, we got together to learn about and cut our own Peking duck. The older chef who came in to talk to us was extremely knowledgeable and personable. He used to be invited to be the main chef at a top restaurant in Japan for 20 years. His presentation was very interesting including facts like why some ducks are more expensive than others, the history of the Peking duck, and how the ducks are fed and raised. The language he used, however, was pretty complex and specialized, so some students started getting antsy just wanting to eat the ducks before he was done speaking. We pre-distributed a sheet with a few questions to answer and blanks to fill to keep the kids' attention. For lunch, we had duck that some of us had helped to cut and the teachers cooked noodles for us with two special sauces. Gao Laoshi (Class B) made one of the two delicious sauces at home - ground pork with "jiang4" (zha2 jiang4).

In the afternoon, the students had their second period of Chinese, and Bonnie gave another workshop on leadership development. This time we focused on an article in the Time Magazine on five things that the US can learn from China (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1938734,00.html). Rebecca, Sarah, Remy, Kevin, Frances, and Tatum read the article in its entirty ahead of time, so we split the students up into six groups centered around each of these individuals. This in itself was an interesting process as kids liked to group with someone of their own liking. However, in the "real world," ond would need to be able to work with all kinds of people including those you do not "like" because there are things you have a choice and there are many things you do not have a choice.

We asked each person in a group to pick one of the five "things" (Be Ambition, Education Matters, Look After the Elderly, Save More, and Look over the Horizon) and talk about what he/she would do during the rest of this program towards this "goal." While most of the students presented about the same thing about appreciating Zong Laoshi, working harder in class so that they would have more opportunities, and saving money when we have the chance to spend it, Sarah had an insightful view on education beyond the obvious expanding to social skills, cultural skills, and learning from each other.

Bonnie then talked about translating motivation into action, and that the "nucleus accumbens" in the brain plays an important role in reward, pleasure, laughter, addiction, aggression, and fear — in other words, a drive to take action. Video games and AD(H)D medication like Ritalin detrimentally affects this area of the brain especially in development, which could lead to difficulties in realizing potential and putting motivation into action.

She then introduced the concept of Multiple Intelligences to the group. Every person has strengths in some of these "intelligence." Each person should discover and leverage their strengths instead of trying to improve on all "intelligence."

In the evening, we went to eat donkey "Chinese sandwich" for dinner — none of the student really knew that it was donkey meat at first. Though some of them knew the Chinese character, they weren’t paying attention and only found out halfway through the meal. Though after finding out, many students were a little grossed out, none were mad, and some still continued eating! Really, it’s not so different from eating cows or lambs. Chinese consider donkey meat better than beef.

We had some really interesting reflections, but I’m really tired. This is all for now!


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