I just came back from a talk on campus about Cuba. It was interesting. But more interesting to me was the fact that four of my Chinese students were in attendance. I was really happy to see them there. A couple others had attended the flamenco performance last month. I am always glad to see them out on campus participating on some of the many activities that take place.
I was somewhat responsible for my students being at the talk tonight. I decided the other day that I wanted to find a way to get my students out of the classroom, so I took one class to a talk that was held during our class time. And the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. So I told my class today that I would give them extra credit for attending up to 5 different talks throughout the rest of the semester and then writing up a little summary of what they understood from each one. I then mentioned the talk tonight as a possible place to start this quest for extra credit. Four students took me up on it.
And they were rewarded by more than extra credit for doing it. When I went to talk to them at the end of the evening, they were talking with another student, a young woman who was obviously not Chinese. They were excited to tell me that they had just met her and that she spoke Chinese!
I am lucky to be in a situation where I can make assignments like this. I am luckier still to be in a place where my students actually do them.