Back in class this week and next week, the students are giving group presentations over various assigned chapters in the book. I tried to place students in groups, but they wanted to stay with their friends which are usually their room mates as well. The dorm rooms here house 4 per room with each group sharing the bathroom facilities. So most students live together, go to the same classes and spend most of their free leisure time together as well.
The groups mainly are composed of all males or all females. One group had four males and four females, they presented in pairs of one boy and one girl. This was very unusual and the interpreter pointed this out to me as well.
The student presentations were the same as in the west. Some students were ready and anxious to get it over with. Other groups wanted more time and did not have their power point slides (PPT) or their hand-out to me ready. Some PPTs were excellent with lots of graphics and sound effects along with current events based on the topics from the textbook chapters that they were to cover.
One group had a chapter of slides that had been accidentally deleted, so they did not want to present today but rather asked to present tomorrow in class. I was told by the group leader in her best English that the "dinosaur" that lives in the computer had "eaten" that part of their PPT! I guess this is the Chinese version of the "dog ate my homework" OR "there is a virus in my computer".... perhaps.
There were some very creative PPTs. I told each class that they needed to introduce each member of their group, so one group put their pictures on a slide with their English name under their pictures. They started some upbeat fast paced music, while they each walked under the screen and pointed to their name as they said their name as well! Very nice introduction.
Another group played a short, quick video of a famous cartoon pertaining to monkeys in a tree. Then, the monkeys began discussing something. Next , we see the monkeys holding each others tails as they hang from the tree to grab the reflection in the moon. When the monkey holding on at the bottom actually does catch the moon's reflection there is great laughter that goes up in the room! I was told by the translator that this is a children's story throughout Asia and the monkeys do NOT catch their reflection, so this is a different twist of this story in this cartoon. The group effectively used this illustration to demonstrate that in organizational behavior what happens with good team building and appropriate team work. It was an excellent example!
Here is the story of the Monkeys and the Moon
"The Monkeys and the Moon - Tibetan Tale In long-past times there lived a band of monkeys in a forest. As they rambled about they saw the reflection of the moon in a well, and the leader of the band said: "O friends, the moon has fallen into the well. The world is now without a moon. Ought not we to draw it out?"The monkeys said, "Good; we will draw it out."So they began to hold counsel as to how they were to draw it out. Some of them said, "Do not you know? The monkeys must form a chain, and so draw the moon out."So they formed a chain, the first monkey hanging on to the branch of a tree, and the second to the first monkey's tail, and a third one in its turn to the tail of the second one. When in this way they were all hanging on to one another, the branch began to bend a good deal. The water became troubled, the reaction of the moon disappeared, the branch broke, and all the monkeys fell into the well and were disagreeably damaged.
A deity uttered this verse: "When the foolish have a foolish leader they all go to ruin like the monkeys which wanted to draw the moon up from the well.""