All across China, university and college campuses, city parks and small cafes host what has been termed as English Corner (EC). These are well-known gathering places where those interested in practicing their English skills can show up and join with others of the same interest at set times during the week. English Corners have been around for a long time in this country, and our campus is no exception.
Every Wednesday evening’ from 7 – 8 p.m. in Classroom 3203, we three foreign teachers gather to see who shows up for our EC activity night. Every month, we choose a different theme and build upon that to create an atmosphere for learning English. Sports, Family Relationships, and University Life have been a few of our topics from the past.
Those who attend are of all majors and English levels. We have those who can put together sentences fairly easily and others who can’t say more than a few words or even none at all. We have a mixture of guys and gals, with 20 participating one week and then 7 the next depending on their schedules and available free time.
Our topic for May has been food, and this past Wednesday night we planned for something special: making the all-American snack, peanut butter and jelly (or other additions) sandwiches.
The spread was one of great interest for our small group of 7: sliced bread, homemade and storebought peanut butter, marmalade and strawberry jam, sliced bananas, honey, potato chips, soda crackers and European biscuits (plain cookies)/After learning the vocabulary for the food items, and practicing to the point of perfection, the eager students watched as we three demonstrated making our favorite sandwiches. Angela made hers with homemade peanut butter, honey and banana. Geoff followed with the classic P&J, peanut butter and strawberry jam. I followed adding potato chips to mine and also creating a soda cracker peanut butter snack as well.
After that, plates were passed out and the students were released to make their own creations. Drinks were added and then our intimate group sat together, sharing our thoughts about the tastiness of our newly-made ventures, which condiments were the favorites and which could be done without.
Because peanut butter can be bought in China, albeit not cheap ($4.00 for a 6 oz jar), as well as jams and jellies, it might be some of our participants might make this on their own some day. I suggested a P&J sandwich party in their dorm rooms where everyone could pitch in to purchase snacks. The 5 boys in attendance seemed particularly keen on this plan. The girls a tad hesitant, more concerned about their figures than their stomachs.
Next week’s EC will be a movie. We are contemplating what story centered around food would be a good choice. The romance Chocolat is one; the Disney animation Ratatouille another. Chinese subtitles are a must since most of those attending can’t follow the English. In this way, everyone can enjoy no matter what their English language level is.
Until next post, hoping you are having good Memorial Day Weekend.