Bryan Sorohan and Rudi Kiefer will depart for another teaching term in China in less than a month, but the pair found time to implement an idea hatched during the winter break. The professors wanted to improve their Chinese language skills before their next teaching term.
Textbooks and online resources didn’t cut it for quick, intensive language learning, so Kiefer and Sorohan asked two students from Anhui Normal University to help out. Jie Li and Yi Wang are in the 2+2 program at Brenau and have been here since Fall 2016. Twice a week, they are holding an hour-long workshop for the two professors.
“Language is the most serious problem we all have while teaching in Anhui Province,” Kiefer said. “Our Chinese colleagues are very accommodating and translate for us whenever they can. But I’d really like to be able to get a taxi on my own and tell the driver where to go, in Chinese.”
Sorohan agreed, “The same is true for shopping, ordering food in a restaurant or asking simple directions,” he said. “One gets tired of doing pantomime to communicate. Life gets much easier when you can make yourself understood with language.”
“We have fun teaching the teachers,” Li said. “And it is great practice because our major is in education.”