When Yvonne (the love of my life) died in 2006 after a long battle with brain cancer. I promised her I would not keep knocking on a door that was closed. I promised her I would make a new life for myself. When doors close other doors open . But this was not possible where everything and everybody reminded my of her. I need to to start a new life in a completely new environment . I cam out of retirement and got back to putting all my energy into my work…China.
I had keen interest in China ever since I read British Historian Parkinson’ book East/West back in l964, Parkinson track the pendulum of world power as it shifted back and forth between east and West. He predicted that by the end of the 20th century we would clearly see the power shifting from West back to the East.. Obviously,he was right on.
Because of all my years as director of experiential learning techniques at the Institute of Research and Services, University of Alabama I was able to get a position as Director of the Simulation Center at Red Horse Training Institute in Hunan province. This proved out to be both a blessing and a curse. RHL was located on beautiful lake 60 miles from Changsha. In fall we experienced a peasants revolt and in January/February we had the worst natural disaster China had experienc in last 20 years. We rarely saw the sun for over a month. It rained and snowed and froze. We had up to 10- inches of sold ice on the few paved roads that existed. We were evacuated just in time and I was sent to hospital with torn muscle and internal infection. To top it off, the authority found that I was 75 years old and I was deported because their is a law in China that no one 60 is allowed to get a visa to teach in China. I passed out on the plane but I did make it back and got the medical attention I needed.The institute was put out of business.
But never had any regrets. I had now found my niche. All Chinese are required in school to learn English. They are forced to memorize long lists of vocabulary and now the grammar better than I do. But they have little or no opportunity or motivation to use English in their daily life. In school room they do role play…”I wan to buy a loft of Bread” “How much does it cost”, This might be okay in grade school. but it doesn’t do much for high school or College students. All my years of working with simulation games and other autotelic inquire techniques now comes into play. Student are put into real life situation and have to use their English to participant. It could be as simple as putting them into a survival situation on the moon and they have to choose which of the items available they feel will be most important for their team to help them survive. . Or as complicated as trying to make their daily life decisions in the game of Ghetto.
Below is a copy of the letter I send out to China when I ma looking for another China adventure
I pay my own travel expenses and volunteer my service to teach a class on Conversational English and American Culture for advanced English Students. (and also Basketball when I have the chance) I have worked at Red Horse Lake Training Institute in Hunan province . Gateway Language Village in Hangzhou, Owens English College in Yangshou, and Wall Street English College in Luxian. I have a masters degree in Education and can provide a brief resume or a complete dossier with all my publications and training seminars if so desired..I was director or Center for Experiential Learning at the University of Alabama. where i developed a model for experiential learning techniques. I can provide excellent references and letters from students and teaches that have worked with me. I can teach it as 2week, 3wek,or 4 week class but not more than16 students per class . I can be there for 2 months or more depending on my visa and how long my money holds out. All I ask is accommodations.
I can’t get a teacher visa because of my age. Although I am in better physical condition then most teaches that are 30 and40 years younger then me …(see attached pictures.) So I get a business Visa as an educational consultant and that has no age attached to i it.( see attachment from Gateway English Village) This is my small contribution to trying to build relationships between different cultures in this world because the world will be come more and more global and only if people of different ethnic groups are able to work together will we be able to survive. By the end of this century China could well become the leading power of the world. If China and America can work together things could go well, If not it could be a disaster
Background (this may help to explain why I live my life the way I do.) I was born in an area of Minneapolis that was referred to as slums or skid row. Today we have other terms like Ghettos. My father went to a one room school in South Dakota and never graduated from 8th grade. My mother dropped out of Minneapolis high school. To move from that subculture to the sub cultural I am in today is a long amazing story. But it could only happen because of key people that came into my life and took a personal interest in me. Each of these key people lead me in to a new subculture. Adapting to these new cultures and learning how to function successfully was a challenge. It was like whittling on a square peg to fit it into a round hole. In a sense my life has been a series of cross cultural experiences. This is why, as a teacher, I was so willing to take time to help those that I perceived having trouble fitting into the world around them. So I have taken advantage of opportunities to experience cross cultural differences on a global scale. . I not only hope to help students learn, but share with them a greater understanding of our culture and learn more about their culture. I hope this will give you some insight as to who I am and where I am coming from
IT IS CALLED PAY IT FORWARD