2011年10月1日 星期六

Blog Archive 14 很久很久以前的文章

Older entries from Taitung Style and Taiwan Style.  To minimize space, I've deleted most of the pictures.  Ready to time travel?  Let's go!

1. The 2011 Beautiful Taitung Triathlon 台東之美鐵人三項 (Taitung Style, October 十月 2011)

The 2011 Beautiful Taitung Triathlon was held in Taitung's Deep Forest Park, on October 1 and 2.  October 1 was the olympic distance triathlon, and October 2 was the sprint and relay events.  The swim segment of these three events took place in the Flowing Lake, the bike segment stretched from the Flowing Lake north, up Highway 11, and the running was done through the park.2011年十月一日及二日的"台東之美"鐵人賽在台東森林公園舉行.一日舉行的是奧林匹克全程鐵人賽,二日則是鐵人半程賽及接力賽.游泳的部分在活水湖進行,單車則是由活水湖開始,往北上11號公路,最後在公園完成跑步的賽程.

I participated in the sprint event, on the second day.  The relay event occurred at the same time.  I didn't see any of the olympic distance triathlon, but I heard that the weather was better on that day.  For their sake, I certainly hope so.  The weather on my day was BAD.我參加的是第二天的半程賽,而接力賽也在同時舉行.我沒去看奧林匹克的鐵人賽,但我聽說那天的天氣好多了.而我參賽的這一天,天氣真是糟透了.

A different athletic organization sponsors this triathlon, and I am not very familiar with them.  I will say that this triathlon seemed a bit less organized that the Flowing Lake Triathlon last May, in which I also participated.  I have only three complaints about this triathlon.  They are:這次舉辦的團體是我所不熟悉的.我認為這次的比賽和我參加的五月那一場(活水湖鐵人賽)比起來,這次感覺起來缺少事前準備,我對這次的活動只有三項不滿意的地方:

1. Only half of the transition area was covered.  This was very unfair to many of the competitors, especially considering that transitioning into the bicycle segment was much more difficult in the rain.  Yes, they passed out plastic bags, but this wasn't much help.只有一半的準備場地有遮雨棚.這對很多的參賽者不公平,尤其是到腳踏車區取車時更是困難,是!他們提供塑膠袋,但是這對我們並沒有什麼幫助.

2. Many of the lifeguards were not paying attention during the swim segment.  I actually had to stop halfway through my swim and point out a guy who was having trouble to the lifeguard.  The conditions in the lake were very dangerous, and some of the lifeguards (not all) should have been more alert.在游泳的部分,很多的救生員根本就不專心,我還必須在中途停下來為他們指出哪位參賽者需要幫忙.湖中的情況很危險,那些救生員(不是全部)應該更保持警覺.

3. Many of the male competitors were competing without shirts.  I don't know what rule book this particular triathlon was following, but in most triathlons guys without shirts get disqualified.很多參賽者都沒有穿上衣,不知道這次的舉辦單位遵守的是什麼規則,因為大部分的鐵人賽是嚴禁不穿上衣參賽的.

And that's it for my complaints.  Aside from the above, the Beautiful Taitung Triathlon was virtually identical to the Flowing Lake Triathlon last May.  Today it was raining, it was windy, and it was generally miserable, but that's no one's fault.  Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad?除了已上三點,這一次的比賽和五月的差不多,今天起風又下雨,但是這也是沒辦法的事,有時候就是要同時接受好與不好的一面.

2. Tung Hai (Dong Hai) University 東海大學 (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

Tung Hai University is in Taichung City 台中市, north of the freeway.  It has a reputation as a liberal arts school, and might be the most famous university in Taichung.  It is also a tourist attraction, and many visitors flock to Tung Hai's campus for the sake of picnics, photography, or just strolling around.

I studied Chinese at Tung Hai.  I thought their Chinese program was great.  I also lived next to Tung Hai for three years, so I had plenty of opportunities to investigate the campus.

When I first moved to Taichung, I think Tung Hai was a lot prettier.  Back then, the entire southern half of the university was a huge pasture.  No one would have imagined picnicing in that pasture, since the grass was waist-high and full of snakes.

Then someone got the idea that the southern half of the school wasn't getting "used," so they cut down all the grass and some of the trees that were there.  They also built a couple roads where the pasture had been, and a few small viewing/seating areas around the southern borders of the university.

After that, someone decided that they should have a night market there.  That's when it became a place I avoided.  Every time I visited the school, I remembered the quiet pasture that once kept the apartment buildings at bay.  For all I know this place has been entirely cemented over, probably for the sake of extra parking.

The northern half of the campus is just the same as when I lived and studied in Tung Hai.  I know this because I've visited there fairly recently.  It's still a nice place to walk around, and opportunities for girl (or guy) watching abound.

North of the university there is a small shopping district and night market.  I used to enjoy this part of Taichung a great deal, but it has since lost its luster for me.  I can't really say why.

If you are a foreigner wanting to study Chinese in Taiwan, I would highly recommend this school.  I had a great time while I was there, the teachers were very professional, and the program was suitably demanding.  Of course, having graduated from there way back in 2002, anything I have to say about their Chinese program should be taken with a grain of salt.

Even if you don't want to study Chinese, you might stop by Tung Hai if you are in the neighborhood.  If the weather isn't too hot, it's a pleasant place to spend the afternoon.

3. Teaching English 5: Dolch Sight Words (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

The "Dolch Word List" or the "Dolch Sight Word List" is a list of the most commonly used words in the English language.  They are essential for any student of English, and the sooner they are learned the better.

Many English teachers in Taiwan teach these words alongside the school's English curriculum.  Of course any beginner-level English textbook is going to introduce numbers and colors, and these words are also part of the Dolch List, but there are also all the pronouns, verbs, and adjectives that are essential to communication in the English language.  New English teachers, focusing too much on "the words in the book," often overlook the critical words like "the," "and," and "he."  Without these words, students can't really do much with their English, and such students are easily frustrated.

If you could get your average class of third graders to memorize at least 100 of the Dolch words in a school year, they would have a considerable advantage over most other students at their grade level.  The students with the Dolch words will have a firmer grasp of the language, and will be able to take more initiative with regard to their own learning.  Students who have memorized a string of random words during this same school year, anything from "zebra" to "periscope," are going to have more trouble decoding the language.

I try to work the Dolch words in where I can, but it's not always easy.  My school uses the Longman books to teach English, and after the first book this series of textbooks is all over the map in terms of vocabulary. Many of the Dolch words are to be found within the Longman books, but they are rarely presented as an object of study.  Instead, each unit has a comic book-like dialogue at the end of every chapter, and this dialogue is rarely the subject of any test.

I sometimes wish some big shot from the MOE would ask me my opinion on the state of Taiwanese English-language education, but I somehow doubt that will ever happen.  If he or she ever did, I'm sure that the Dolch Sight Words would be the first thing I would mention.  Studying high-frequency vocabulary seems like a no-brainer, but apparently others have different ideas.

4.  Taiwanese Food 2: Beef Noodles (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

Beef noodles 牛肉麵 are hugely popular in Taiwan.  It would be difficult to go to any part of the island that doesn't have them.  Even in the smallest village, someone probably eats beef noodles at least some of the time.

I myself LOVE beef noodles.  If I can't think of what to eat, I usually eat either beef noodles or dumplings.  Curry pork is usually my third choice.  I especially favor beef noodles in the winter, since there's nothing better to eat on a cold day than a nice, hot bowl of beef noodles.

There used to be a "beef noodle street" in Taipei.  This street has since disappeared, though there is still an abundance of beef noodle restaurants in Taipei.  My favorite place in Taipei is a little restaurant near the train station.

In Taitung 台東, we also have our share of beef noodle restaurants. I go through phases where I consider one of them my favorite, only to change my mind later on.  Right now, my favorite is the Shan Dong Delicacies 山東小吃 restaurant, next to the Christian Hospital.

Taitung also has a very famous beef noodle restaurant (三姐妹), down the coast in Tai Ma Li.  I used to love this place, but it's far and a bit overpriced.  If you are passing through Taitung as a tourist, I would highly recommend it.  Locals will be bored by the view, but if you're new to Taitung you'll love it.

Whatever food you prefer, I hope you will give your local Taiwanese restaurant a try.  There are some bad restaurants out there, and also some bad beef noodles, but for every bad meal there is a good meal around the corner.

5. Double Ten Day 雙十節 (國慶日) (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

Next Monday is Double Ten Day, also called National Celebration Day.  It's called "Double Ten Day" because it always falls on October 10.  This holiday is specific to Taiwan, and has no traditions or festivals associated with it.  It commemorates a series of events that led to the creation of the Republic of China in 1912.

It's easy to confuse the Republic of China with the People's Republic of China.  The Republic of China is the democratic government founded by Dr. Sun Yat Sen 國父孫中山 after the collapse of the Ching (Qing) Dynasty 清朝 in 1912.  This government  was later brought by Chiang Kai-Shek 蔣介石 to Taiwan, as a result of the Republican (Kuomintang 國民黨) forces losing their hold over the Mainland.  The People's Republic of China was the government founded on the Mainland by the communists, after they kicked out Chiang Kai-Shek.

All of which means that I get a day off next Monday.  We'll be renting a car and driving to the west side of the island, for the purpose of taking in sights and generally having a good time.  The weather's supposed to be rainy, but we'll see.

In case you didn't know, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China, if not the Republic of China's presence on Taiwan.  Back in 1912, Taiwan was still part of Japan, and democracy hadn't found its way over here yet.  It wouldn't be until 1949 that that finally happened.

So here's wishing you a happy Double Ten Day, even if it might not apply to you!

6. Taroko Gorge 太魯閣 (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

Taroko Gorge is in Hualien County 花蓮縣, not far from Hualien City.  It is a national park, and is probably the most famous scenic destination on the entire east coast.

I've been there twice.  From where I live in Taitung City 台東市, it's three to four hours away.  We take the mountain road, Highway 9, to Hualien City, and from there follow the Central Cross-Island Highway 中橫公路 to Taroko Gorge.  There are a lot of stores selling cookies and local goods on this stretch of road.  Many of these goods are produced by, or are at least named after, the Amei Tribe 阿美族.

It's hard to find good weather in Taroko Gorge.  Since the walls of the gorge are so steep, and since it's deep in the mountains, the weather there is almost invariably cloudy.  I think that if you get there and it's not raining, then you have reason enough to be happy.  During both of my trips there it was raining, and this was in the middle of summer.

As you would expect from any national park, there is a visitor center next to the entrance.  Inside you can buy snacks, tourist goods, and learn a little bit more about the park and its wildlife.  This place is mobbed with people on the weekends, and it's even worse on national holidays.  If you can visit Taroko on a workday, you will have a much more relaxing time there.

I haven't explored Taroko in great detail.  On both occasions, we parked at the visitor's center, got out, and walked for an hour or so.  The scenery there is stunning, and if you are like me, you will be aching to jump into that river on a hot day.  Unfortunately swimming isn't allowed, and yes, you can actually get in trouble for it at Taroko.

I think that as far as Taiwanese national parks are concerned, Taroko would probably come third on my list.  My favorite is definitely Shuei Ba 雪霸 National Park, in the center of the island, and my second would be Jade Mountain 玉山 National Park, which is much closer to where I live.

7. My Third-Life Crisis (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

I am 36 now, and before you know it I'll be 37.  At 37, there are only 3 years between me and 40.  Not so long when you think about it.  Not so long at all.

Yeah, you could say that you're only as young (or as old) as you feel.  You could talk about the meaninglessness of numbers.  But these are abstract concepts, and not always easily digested.  Numbers, however, tend to hit home faster.

When I was in my 20s, like most people in their 20s, I didn't spend much time thinking about my age.  I was young, I was cool, and I thought I was God's gift to women.  Subsequent events lifted those particular scales from my eyes, and this was a good thing.  I needed, in other words, to learn what was wrong with myself in order to be a better me.  This process is ongoing.

Looking back on the "me" of my 20s, I don't think I was really cognizant of my age until these 20s came to an end.  It was 2005, I was living in Hsinchu 新竹, and I had just turned 30.

And that was fine with me.  Or so I thought.  10 years to 40, right?  I'm as young as I feel!  It's just a number!

That was my state of mind until I wound up in a local KTV with my friend Zack and some others.  I was happy at first.  I was carefree.  And then I drank an entire bottle of Absolut by myself, and washed this down with a few whiskeys.

I don't remember much after that.  I think I got in a fight with someone.  I remember part of an argument.  What I do remember clearly is throwing up for a long, long time, and waking up in someone else's house.  I woke up, sick as a dog, and I was still 30.

It was only at that moment, of waking up in front of a toilet bowl, that I realized that I WASN'T OK with turning 30.  No.  I wasn't OK with it at all.

I guess that back then, just turning 30 with a wife, a child, and another child on the way, I saw the doors closing on many of the dreams I had as a younger man.  I wasn't going to be a rock star.  I wasn't going to move to Thailand.  I wasn't going to party like I used to.

I was a different man, and I had a different set of responsibilities, and these responsibilities were something I had to adjust to.  It didn't happen overnight, and it took more than a bottle of Absolut and a rising sense of panic.

And now, as I approach 40, I sometimes wonder if a similarly self-destructive episode is waiting in the wings.  With the "me" of my 20s still so much farther away, will I do something stupid?  Will I embarrass myself again?  Will I be a "person of interest"?

I can't say, but I kind of doubt it.  I'm hoping, praying, that my 30th birthday - my "third-life crisis" if you will - was the end of the matter.  Perhaps, and I'm definitely expressing a wish here, my 30th birthday was all the freaking out over my age that I'm going to do.  I certainly hope so.

8. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, also known as DEHP, is a commonly used plasticizer.  DEHP and other plasticizers are used throughout the world, primarily to augment the durability, viscosity, or flexibility of any number of materials.  DEHP is used in the manufacture of PVC, and is used to make hydraulic fluid.  It is also one of the active components in glowsticks.

The US FDA allows for the use of DEHP in some food packaging.  Since it has a low solubility in water, it leeches more slowly from landfills.  The EPA's "safe limit" for consuming DEHP in water is 6 parts per billion.

The effects of DEHP on human beings are far from clear.  Studies have been done, but many of these studies are inconclusive.  It has been shown to cause reduced penis width in humans, obesity or insulin resistance in men, disruption of endocrine function, and also heart problems.

And why do I mention all this in a blog about Taiwan?  Because if you have lived here a while, you've probably already ingested some of it.  Until they were caught doing so, many food and beverage producers on the island were using DEHP instead of palm oil.  DEHP, as you might have already guessed, is much cheaper than palm oil, and can also be used as a clouding agent.

95 manufacturers (thus far) have been caught using DEHP.  Many more manufacturers have been implicated.  Of course the supply chain for any food or beverage is quite complicated these days, so it's hard to say where one person's negligence becomes another person's innocence (or ignorance).  Suffice to say, over 900 products have been recalled from shelves, and Taiwanese people are starting to get really, really paranoid about what they eat and drink.

I, for one, think their paranoia is justified.  DEHP isn't the only plasticizer out there, and it's not the only plasticizer winding up in our bodies. The government is doing what it can to protect the public's health, but much of the food we eat, and the drinks we drink, are still suspect.

I'm not writing this to worry you.  It's just something worth considering if you now live - or if you are soon going to live - in Taiwan.  This is also not to imply that the Americans have a better understanding of this situation than the Taiwanese.  I only use the EPA and FDA as examples.  The American food industry?  Don't even get me started...

9. The 8-8 Typhoon 88水災 (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

 The 8-8 Typhoon was a big deal, even if some people might not think so.  In Taiwan we get several typhoons a year, and why should the 8-8 Typhoon deserve more notice than the others?

This is a valid question, but if you are asking it, you probably weren't living on the East Coast when it happened.  The 8-8 Typhoon really was a disaster, and as such exceeded previous expectations regarding typhoons.

The 8-8 Typhoon struck on August 8, 2009, just after me, my wife, and my two daughters returned from Seattle.  We had only been here for a few days, we had just rented a new apartment, and we were all sitting in an empty living room, wondering when it was going to stop raining.

At that time we had neither television nor the internet.  All we had, in fact, were a set of suitcases and personal belongings.  For this reason, I didn't hear about the magnitude of the 8-8 Typhoon until it was on its way to China.  All I knew was that policemen were keeping people away from the beaches, and people kept calling us and asking if we were OK.

So it wasn't until the clouds finally peeled away that I realized just how bad that typhoon really was.  I can remember driving down to Tai Ma Li 太麻里, about 20 minutes from where I then lived, and seeing the entire place under water.  Really.  It was all under water.  All you could see were the tops of the houses, and some of these houses on their way towards the sea!

At the beaches it was a different problem.  The typhoon had washed a considerable amount of timber down the mountainsides, and all of it wound up on the beaches.  This was a boon for local woodcarvers, but for the Taitung County Government 台東縣政府 it was a major headache.  They spent months dragging all that wood from the beaches, and in the end there was a huge mountain of this wood sitting just south of the Seashore Park 海濱公園 in the City.  This mountain of wood was so extensive that it wasn't cleared away until last year.

And then there was the human cost.  Thousands of people lost their homes in the mountains, and many of them were permanently displaced.  This typhoon hit the aboriginal people especially hard, since they were concentrated in the mountains, and specifically in the river valleys where the flooding was the worst.

I don't know if there will be another typhoon like that in our future, but I certainly hope not.  With increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, it's impossible to say whether the magnitude of local typhoons will get better or worse.  This also brings to mind our relationship to these same typhoons, and how we might be affecting weather patterns.

Yes, the 8-8 Typhoon was a big deal.  It was also a warning, and how we respond to that warning makes all the difference in the world.

10. The Supermen (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

"Hang On to Your Ego."  Now there's a great song.  This song first appeared on The Beach Boys' album "Pet Sounds," though Frank Black also did a cover version on his album "Teenager of the Year."

The lyrics go something like:

"Hang on to your ego,
Hang on, but I know that you're gonna lose the fight
They come on like they're peaceful but inside they're so uptight,
They trip through the day and waste all their thoughts at night..."

This song always reminds me of a lot of foreign guys in Taiwan.  I'm not saying that they're bad or anything, just that this song reminds me of them.

I think a lot of guys move here with a fairly well-developed self-image, or ego if you will.  What they might not realize is that this self-image is predicated upon their home country.  Many guys come out here, realize that Taiwan is "different," and abruptly begin having an identity crisis.

This identity crisis is usually followed by the creation of a new "Taiwan identity."  For many this can be a very liberating experience, as reinventing yourself is always apt to be.  Guys that can no longer engage in American football suddenly start surfing, and begin to self-identify as a surfer.  Guys who can no longer participate in the Western concert scene begin to like Taiwanese baseball, and self-identify as a baseball fan.  I'm sure you can supply other examples.

Again, I'm not trying to judge here.  I have undergone the same kind of change.

The difficulty comes when this "Taiwan identity" - this "Taiwan me" - acts as a barrier against a more realistic appraisal of oneself.  For example, guys that surf on the east coast begin thinking that they are world-class surfers, even if they can barely stand up on their boards.  Guys who've had some success with the ladies start thinking they're Brad Pitt, even if they look like hell and smell worse.  Girls who were art students back home become well-known local painters, even if it is only their friends attending their art shows.  Again, I'm sure you can supply other examples.

I'm not saying that you can't forge a new identity in Taiwan, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't pursue new and more relevant interests.  But it helps to keep that ego in check.  It is good to love yourself, it is good to change, but never at the expense of humility.

As Napoleon - that object lesson unto himself - once said, "Pride comes before a fall."

11. Driving Around 2 (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

Guanmiao Rest Area, Tainan

I had three days off this weekend, so we went on a trip.  Our primary goal was "Janfusan Fancy World" 劍湖山世界 in Yunlin 雲林, but we also wanted to go to Taichung 台中 and the village in Yunlin where my wife is from.

Freeway Toll Booths

We left Taitung 台東 on Saturday morning, and drove straight to Janfusan Fancy World.  It took us about six hours.  From Taitung we drove south to the Southern Cross-Island Highway 南迴公路, and from there we crossed the central mountain range to Ping Tung 屏東, on the western side of the island.  After reaching Ping Tung, we drove north until we reached the Jung Shan (#3) Freeway 中山高速公路.

Entrance to Janfusan Fancy World

From the Jung Shan Freeway, it's easy to get to Janfusan Fancy World.  We got there a little after lunch, and the place was traffic-free.  We spent the remainder of Saturday in the amusement park, and afterward found a place in Dou Liou 斗六to spend the night.

Douliou Old Street

From Dou Liou we went to Tsao Hu 草湖, which is the village where my wife grew up.  Tsao Hu is not far from the Taiwan Strait, in Luen Bei Township 崙背鄉.  We had lunch with my wife's grandparents, her parents, and other family members, I got extremely drunk, and after lunch we drove from Tsao Hu to Taichung.

Rush Hour in Tsao Hu

Our arrival in Taichung was the most unpleasant part of this trip.  They were fixing the sewers around the freeway exit onto Jung Gang Road 中港路, and we had to fight our way through one of the biggest traffic jams I have ever seen.

Cosmetics Counter, Taichung Sogo

After battling traffic for eons, we found a place to park, and then met friends for dinner.  I am always happy to see old friends in Taichung.  They took us to a restaurant near Sogo, and I thought the food was great.

Dream Mall

We spent Sunday night in a friend's apartment, and drove to Kaohsiung's 高雄 Dream Mall 夢時代 today.  We walked around, had lunch, and then began the remainder of our drive home.  It was a good trip, even though I could have done without the traffic.

12. "Janfusan Fancy World" 劍湖山世界 (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

Entrance to the park.  Not exactly Disneyland, but easy to get into (and out of).

"Janfusan Fancy World" is in Gu Keng Township 古坑鄉, Yunlin County 雲林縣.  It is about an hour south of Taichung City 台中市, and is also easy to reach via the Jung Shan Freeway 中山高速公路.

I have no idea how it came to be called "Janfusan Fancy World."  I can only assume that whoever decided to translate 劍湖山世界 into "Janfusan Fancy World" had either a limited command of English or a limited command of Chinese.  The Chinese name, 劍湖山世界, would be better translated as "Jian Hu Mountain Amusement Park," or at least "Jian Hu Mountain World."  This might at first glance seem a trivial matter, but I'm sure more than one foreign tourist has been put off by their English name.

Just inside the entrance.

On the day we went, it was 600 NT for adults and 300 NT for children.  Not crushingly expensive, especially compared to places like Hong Kong Disneyland or FarGlory Amusement Park 遠雄海洋公園 in Hualien 花蓮.  They also charge for parking, so be warned before you drive through the main gate.

"Magic World," the least interesting part.

People without kids would have little reason to visit this place, aside from a love for roller coasters.  The water park portion of Jian Hu Mountain Park is surprisingly small, and invites unfavorable comparisons to places like Yue Mae 月眉 in Taichung County.

For children, however, this place is ideal.  It's not so huge that you get exhausted walking around it, and most of the attractions are extremely kid friendly.  The more adult rides are obviously adult rides, and are kept separate from more colorful areas for small children.

The indoor part of Jian Hu Mountain is impressive.  This is where most of the little kid rides are, and it is in itself worth the price of admission.  Our daughter spent HOURS in here.

For bigger folks, there is an array of vomit-inducing rides adjacent to this indoor area.  I went on both of the roller coasters, and thought the orange one was much better than the blue one.  The blue one offers a spectacular plunge towards the lower reaches of the park, but the orange lasts longer and loops a couple of times.

The indoor part - little kids will be in heaven here.

Unlike Hong Kong Disneyland, this place is more than an excuse for a gift shop.  Sure, they sell a lot of stuff inside, but Jian Hu Mountain's relative obscurity insures that their amusement park is actually amusing.  Places like this really need to compete to stay in business, and it shows.

View from the big ferris wheel.  That's the wave pool below.

I would highly recommend this place if you have kids, and if you don't mind parting with a few thousand NT to make them happy.  It's easy on parents, and the lines are short.  Even if you don't have kids, you might think about borrowing someone else's, and paying it a visit.

13. English at Tung Hai Elementary 東海國小的英語教學 (Taitung Style, October 十月 2011)

Many kids at Tung Hai love to study English.  We encourage that.  Many kids and Tung Hai don't love to study English.  For these students, we try to make English more accessible and fun.很多東海國小的小朋友喜愛美語,我們鼓勵他們學習,而對於那些不喜歡的小朋友,我們試著讓美語對他們而言是有趣且容易接近的.

There are three English teachers in our school.  I am one of them.  The two "regular" English teachers teach each class twice a week, and the foreign English teacher (me) teaches each class once a week.  This means that every class, from grade 3 to grade 6, has three English classes a week.我們學校有三位英文老師,我是其中一個.其他兩位老師在班級中一個星期有兩堂課,我(外級教師)則有一堂課.所以從三年級到六年級的班級,每個班級一個星期有三堂美語課.

Our school is using the Longman English textbooks for grades 3, 5, and 6, and the Rainbow English textbooks for grade 4.  The Rainbow English textbook was introduced last year.我們學校的三 五 六年級用的是朗文的課本,四年級則是用彩虹版本的課本.

Kids in our school have an English test three times a semester.  The "regular" English teachers test them during the two days set aside for testing, and I test them the week before.  Their grades on both my test and the "regular" English teachers' tests determine their grade in English for that third of the semester.每學期有三次的美語考試,另外兩位老師的考試是隨著學校的考試舉行,我的考試則在他們考試的前一周.期末時,我的考試和另外的英文老師的考試成績共計於孩子的英文成績.

The "regular" English teachers divide their tests into two parts.  They administer their listening text the week before the two days set aside for testing.  During one of the two days set aside for testing, they administer a test of reading and writing. 另外的英文老師將考試分為兩部分,他們的聽力考試在段考前的一個禮拜,段考時間則是考閱讀/寫作.

My test comes in one part.  The first 5-10 questions on my tests are listening/dictation questions, where students write down the letter, word, or sentence I say.  This is usually followed by a reading section, where they answer questions about a story, and a writing section, where they write sentences based on vocabulary used in their textbooks.我的考試方式是5-10分鐘的聽力測驗,這部分學生寫下聽到的字母,單字或句子,接著則是閱讀,根據故事內容回答問題,最後是利用課本中的單字造句.

But the above only applies to the first two tests each semester, because the last test I administer each semester is the "conversation" test.  In this test I talk to the students in groups of 4 or 5, and ask them questions from their textbooks.  They start from 50 points, or 50%, and based on the number of questions they can answer, move up towards 100.以上的考試方式只在第一及第二次段考,最後一次考試則是以"會話"方式進行,每四至五個學生一組,我問他門課本中的問題,基本分數是50分或是總分的一半,隨著回答問題的多寡往上加分.

That's the basic overview of what we English teachers do at Tung Hai.  We work very hard at what we do, and we are always trying to be better! 這是我們學校工作中的大致輪廓,我們很用心地在工作上努力,也一直在改進當中.

14. Photo Gallery 4 (Taiwan Style, October 十月 2011)

Pictures taken recently.  This batch pretty much exhausts my supply!

Rusting swing, Jer Ben 知本

Rest area, Guan Miao 觀廟

My daughter eating lunch

"Janfusan Fancy World" 劍湖山世界

Douliou 斗六

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