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When I have a new group of students coming in, I love to get them guessing as to who I am instead of me doing all the talking.

On the first day of class I take along a huge basket filled with items from my house that can tell them something about me...
family photos, an atlas, souvenirs from places visited, something in my favourite colour, jewellry, tapes, vcds, etc.

When class begins, apart from my name in English and in Chinese, I don't tell them anything. It is up to them to guess!

I allow students to each choose something from the basket and leave them at their tables to discuss the possible meaning of the weird hodge-podge I have thrown in.

After a reasonable time I begin to ask them what they have guessed about me from the items, and then we talk about each thing they find out about me. eg. and atlas might lead them to where I come from (South Africa) but it might also tell them where I have travelled (all over Asia).

I also like to take piles of photos along with me and round off the time by letting them look through the photos at their tables and calling out questions which I then answer for the whole class.

Alice Gundry
South African teacher in China

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