September 17, 2014

GIW Shanghai: Stepping Stones

Probably the most enriching experience of the Global Immersion Week in Shanghai was the NGO experience with Stepping Stones. Stepping Stones ( is an NGO that goes to migrant schools to teach children English.

Our students doing their pre-class eye exercises

We got briefed the afternoon before the activity and were given tips on the basic teaching methods and how to engage the children, the curriculum/lesson we had to teach, and the success criteria. I felt like the briefing itself was a great opportunity to learn. I picked up a few teaching tips that I plan to use with my own kids. I learned how to get the attention of a class of students using TPR (total physical response), setting high expectations of children, having positive body language, and learning a positive way to reprimand bad behavior while reinforcing good behavior.

On the day of the activity, we took a 1.5 hour bus ride outside the city to a migrant school near the American School in Pudong. The teaching activity went quite well. We were able to stick to the given lesson plan and also managed to keep within the time frame given. The children were well behaved, enthusiastic, smart and generally gave off a very positive energy which we all felt. I was not the lead teacher but I felt like we all really connected with the kids.

The teaching activity itself lasted less than an hour but it really felt like a lot longer, and I say that in a good way. Listening to the kids respond to the lesson plan and looking into their eyes as they interacted with us made the moment last a lot longer than what our watches told us.

We ended the activity with a debrief with the school's principal. We learned that they actually get at least one English class everyday, which according to my colleagues was even more than what they get in Europe. This only means that China is taking serious steps to making sure that future generations will be able to speak English.

I'm certain that most of my friends and colleagues from IE Business School who participated in this activity enjoyed it thoroughly. It was definitely the perfect way to wrap up the Global Immersion Week in Shanghai.

Me with the students after class. Photo taken by my friend Anderson Barros.