Being British Born Chinese

I am going to do a special lesson on culture for my students. I have no idea how it will go because my student’s exposure to foreign culture consists of their (eccentric) teacher and stereotypical American movies. You can look at my lesson plan here

. Before I get a mass of complaints, I realise that my lesson plan is missing some fundamentals:

  1. Statement of aims
  2. No target grammar being taught
  3. No timings on the plan

Whilst browsing for some material for the lesson I found a youtube video about being British-born Chinese.

There is a lot that I sympathise with. The long evenings spent by myself whilst my parents worked; acting as a translator; the feeling of isolation; episodes of racism (though it hasn’t been a problem for me for years); the long hours studying. Even my parents like to play Mahjong!

Well, I’m not completely like Susan. My parents are from mainland China, I never had to work that much in the takeaway and I decided to run off to China after university, just to confuse myself even more. Actually, my experience in China has taught me that I am British at heart. However, the more important lesson for me was to rise about the paradigm of culture. It is too easy to say that all actions and attitudes are caused by culture. I’m trying to look beyond and see the person underneath. Realising this, culture does not seem to matter so much anymore.

Actually, it does matter because it gives me an easy lesson to teach.

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4 Responses

  • I’ve never been able to get my Chinese students to do that “vote with your feet” activity properly. If I ask students who disagree to go left, and agree to go right, there’s a mob to whichever side the first good student picks. It was really successful when I taught in the US, but it’s pretty hard to convince students here that there’s no wrong answer, and I actually want them to come up with more than “Yes”

  • Mandy says:

    Iā€™m interested in the opinions of your students about the topic. You may post one about it.

  • Andy says:

    Very informative post.

    I feel I am not fully Chinese.. But at the same time, not British!
    I am something very special (if I may say so myself…) I am a full on BBC! I am of the BBC culture

    The way I see the World is that within a lifetime or so, the people of hte future will have a culture more like the one we so uniquely have as BBCs, with a practically genetic amalgamation of cultural identity

    I’m just lucky to be born ahead of the curve, to have a cultural advantage. Thanks for the great post, hopefully it will keep geting more people thinking.

  • Susan says:

    Hi, just wanted to say i hope that the video was useful in your class! šŸ˜€ I made that when i was 18, and i’m now soon to be 24! i’m glad you made some use of the video anyway šŸ™‚


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