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The Corner But Unlike Other Corners

Revision:He Yuqian,Zhong BoqiDate:2018/10/28

In English Corner,people of different colors and cultures gathered in classroom 404.

At the beginning,people shared what had happened to them this week. Different people have different experience,happy or unhappy,in 404,there will always be people who will listen carefully to your sharing. Then people talked about their opinions about true friends. In free talk,people from different country or different district introduced something special in their hometown to their parner. People are allowed to make mistakes here and they don't be shy any longer. Everyone enjoys it,the 404 room is full of laughter.    

Q: Where are you from and what is your major in CCNU

A: My name is Areen and I am enrolling in PhD in Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at School of Foreign Languages. And, this is my second year, next year I will graduate. Originally, I am from Kurdistan, which is a small district in the north part of Iraq, but I lived and studied part of my life in England, then I moved to the US for my second degree, and travelled around the world.

Q: What motivated you to create the English Corner?

A: Actually I did not create it, I found it. There was supposed to be an English Corner before, but that was not English Corner but like English class. I designed a completely newly structured one and I named it English Corner. The main aim of English Corner and the motto is: We Learn More to Adapt More. Because the reason behind opening this Corner is just to make sure that Chinese people can easily communicate with foreigners and foreign people can easily adapt to the culture of Chinese. Before me, there was no bridge; there were classes, there were teacher and students; but you know in these kinds of situations we have quite a lot of boundaries. I designed this in order to break all those limitations and boundaries, and I built a bridge between Chinese society and foreign society to learn from each other. Today you are in China, tomorrow you head to another country. Today I am in China, tomorrow I go to another country. This is not my country, for example, next week or next year I may go to Japan. What do I know about Japanese culture or tradition? Nothing! So I founded this in order to give the full opportunity to everybody in order to learn not only the language. People can learn courses online through money, but they cannot learn about the tradition and customs. In my classes, even I give the full freedom to people in order to interact, in order to communicate, and learn from each other; rather than learning the language solely. I told everybody that this is not a language class; we do not learn the language.

Q: What are the main activities in this Corner?

A: We have hundreds of activities; I am working with different organizations, NGOs, and different universities around Hubei. Inside the class, like indoor activities, we have games, activities, free talk, learning from each other, group discussion, roundtable, debate sometimes, and every week we design our topic to talk about all of us; besides, every month we have a movie session which we play a movie and everybody can come here to enjoy the time. These are we called indoor activities, but we have outdoor activities too. It was like thirty or twenty-five days ago, the Foreign Cultural Exchange Program of Wuhan and Wuhan Association Affairs called me and told me that they need some foreigners to attend the party in Yellow Crane Tower (Song and Poem Night), so I could able to get a free ticket for almost twenty-five students to attend the evening poems and songs. Another activity could be travelling. I am working with a club in CCNU which is in charge of travelling around Wuhan. Every month or every two months once or twice, we select a park and go there; we have a free discussion and enjoy the fresh open air. We have other activities, for instance, sometimes people from different primary schools or Yang Lei Feng need help, like translation during the festival, so I am the link between the people and those volunteer activities. Now my group has more than 700 members, and it becomes one of the biggest free English platforms in China. In the English Corner Official Group, we have professors and people all around the world from 70 to 100 countries. Every 2 to 3 weeks or every month I will invite a native keynote speaker. And we sometimes have IELTS and TOEFL classes. I give them free classes if they are in need.

Q: What is your expectation for the English Corner?

A: I do not have any expectation. I work on trying. I always believe that if there is no pain, there will be no gain. I try my best and I am sure I will get a good response. I do my best to make this run because next year I will graduate and I won’t be here, so I have to make sure that there should be a strong base.

Q: What is your biggest difficulty of organizing this Corner?

A: It's really hard because sometimes when you tell people to join your class and give a keynote speaking to help you out, they may ask you for money. And I am doing it all for free. I cannot charge my students for money. Sometimes I meet difficulty in regarding income, but some other times I may find difficulty in regarding cooperation. Not everybody likes to cooperate with me because I am a freelancer. I'm not working for the government and I’m not working for any party; except under the supervision of CICE, CCNU. So they believe that there's no use if they work with me. But luckily, I would say that after each class, when I received one thanks on my cell phone, it means I had the money of all the banks of the world; one smile of one participant in this class is equal to all the treasure and wealth of the world for me.

Q: What do you think of CCNU?

A: I'm really honoured to be part of this family and this university. Proudly speaking, wherever I go I will say I'm a PhD graduate of CCNU. If I am not a student of CCNU, I wouldn't be the person who sits in front of you today. CCNU is a kind of figurative icon which everyone should be proud of. In terms of to let CCNU be proud of you, I believe that we should not work in order to gain something in return. That is the main point that most people failed to succeed. I don't need anyone to be proud of me, maybe tomorrow I will vanish, I will disappear, but wherever I go, I have left my footsteps on that land.

Q: Do you have some suggestions for English learners?

A: In terms of teaching, I don't want to call myself a teacher, although I have been teaching for more than fourteen years. But I can give you two points: Learning like a child and as soft as the wind. Learning like a child means not to be shy. Open yourself and without being afraid of making any grammatical mistake, and without being afraid of anything. Second, be like a wind, be super soft. Because when it is strong, it can demolish everything. So you have to start step by step. And I am a good example. I always tell my students that I'm not a native speaker. I learned English just like you. The language is even not my second language. Now I am an English teacher and I taught English in many European countries. Therefore, I believe that if I can make it, I'm sure that you are all better than me, and then you can make it. There's nothing impossible unless you try it. Languages need to think, need devotion, and interest. And I also suggest that learn the culture first, languages the second. Otherwise, even if you speak fluently you will sometimes break the heart of the learner by expressing in a correct grammar but wrong expression.

You can scan our QR Code below and read our recent Updates and Stories in our Official Account. Or Add my WeChat account at (AreenApplied) or (Scan the QR Code) to add you to the Official Group of English Corner. With Thanks!

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