To me INTERCULTURAL Competence is the ability to effectively mesh cultures by way of understanding and being understood simultaneously. It is an acceptance that goes beyond tolerance I would say. While in Chongqing and Beijing I made an intentional and concerted effort to learn as much language as possible and experience as much of the culture as I could. How? Speaking, Reading, Listening and eating as many different foods as possible.


Well I came with a one sheet wonder of phrases that would see me through a trip to the market or a restaurant. Miss Buksa took good care of me by giving me these. I learned quickly that mimicking the “accent” was an exercise I need some teaching around. There are accents in Chinese that combine volume, pitch and “tongue rolling”. I’m getting pretty good at it. Getting the accents or “ tongues” correct. There are 4 main accents. Going low with a sound. Going up or high with a sound. Going down then up. And most confusing: up down and up again. I am sure I got that wrong. DR. Xu made a joke about some of her students using “Chinglish” phrases or words. I took this to mean a combination of English words and Chinese understandings. Some things just do not translate well. Anyway. I kept a few notes here about the words I learned. I’ll save foods for another post.

Phonetically Spelled Words I have Learned to use:



Zrwai bien-go left

Yow bien-go right

Tien bien-go straight

Hoh(m)-go backward –you barely need to say the m at the end.

Do Sow Chen; better said very fast ending up sounding like: Doesachein. This is a way to demand a price, like… How Much is it?

Tie Qwai La; better said fast sounding like: Tiekwayla. This is a way to say the price is too high or you will pay less, like… Too Much!

ShayShay; better said with no pause in between. This is the most common way to say Thank You.

Boo Youwn Shay; better said Booyun Chien, quickly meaning Your Welcome.

Mio Mio; once or twice means No.

Nee How; better said Nihauw meaning Hello. You can add Maa meaning Hello how are you or Hello you are good?

How; can be pronounced fast like Ha,Ha sometimes sounding like people are making fake laughing sounds. This means Good.

LauShir; meaning Teacher. If pronounced fast (and incorrectly) it also means Ten, Yes, and (wait for it) “excrement” Again. The accent is extremely important.

Da Shwai- meaning University. Translated more closely to big or high learning.

Da- Big

Shwai- school

Towwwchien- Sandals or Flip Flops

(f)Houng jiao – Red Wine

EeByQwai- 100 Yuan (the primary denomination of Chinese Yuan) the equivalent to about 22 CDN dollars.

Teeann- money

Counting in Chinese Phonetically:

1-Ee, 2-Ar, 3-Sain, 4-Shzur, 5-Woh, 6-Leol,7-Chi, 8-Baa, 9-Cheou, 10-Xi (I can also count to this with one hand now as they do all over the country.)


I have learned to look at the characters from right to left while reading the English (which is usually underneath) from left to right. Constantly looking at the signs and forcing myself to “understand” has done me well. I believe that my mind can figure it out. I certainly do not possess the ability to read Chinese characters. Finding patterns is key. Everywhere I went I looked for the symbol for learning or school. I figured it out.


I just started copying things I saw and tried to figure out the patterns… I didn’t even come close to figuring this one out! My good friend Will from Chongqing is an expert character writer. He has won competitions. He makes Chinese writing look so beautiful. It truly is art that you can read.

This one means “The Speaker”.

I would just love to be able to speak this language. What I have noticed is that the longer I am here the more I hear. What I mean to say is that over the time I have been in China I am detecting more differences in the sounds that are made to vocalize the language.

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How many people live here!?!
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The Seafood Section!

Hey kids: what does your seafood section look like?

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Dear Eds,

I am sharing this email with you as I miss you all and all the kids immensely. Writing this post to you helps me to remember it will not be long before I am home with all of you again.

It is Wednesday morning here and I am getting ready to go to my 4th day of the conference on the China – Canada reciprocal learning program. It is my goal in the next three days to find a school that Kingsville can be paired with so that we can create some connections with teachers and students from Chongqing, China. I have been listening to researchers and thinkers speak about how the work that the GECDSB has done with the program will impact the global improvement of education. I have learned so much in a short time. The project is a grand project spanning the last 6 years. The Reciprocal Learning Project really grew three years ago when the sister school project was developed. There are 4 layers to the work being done:

1. Student Teachers from both China (Southwest University) and Windsor (UofW) are invited to apply for a 3 month exchange program/practicum that brings them right into classrooms in each other’s schools.

2. Student Teachers from both areas attend each other’s teacher’s colleges for this time. Number 1 and 2 can be called the Teacher Exchange Network.

3. 6 Sister school relationships created pairs of reciprocal learning teams where monthly Skype calls (themed) bring teachers, students, administrators together to learn with, from and about each other. These relationships have attempted to focus in on pedagogical and curriculum based conversations. (ie. Glenwood has focused on Math conversations)

4. Data is collected (qualitative) by Graduate Students, Doctoral students and a team of global researchers and international advisors. The data is analyzed and major papers are written to share the findings with the world. To quote Dr. Ruth Hayhoe “There is no other study, no other project like this, with this scope anywhere in the world. This is ground breaking research.”

The work that has and will be done is under the leadership of Dr. Shijing Xu of the University of Windsor and Dr. Michael Connelly of the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. The project is possible, financially, due to a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Yesterday we gathered in the Shi Yuan Lecture hall and presented our practical observations and feelings about being involved in the project. Researchers were thrilled to hear first-hand the experiences of the Student Teachers and the Principals.

Over the next three days I have the incredible opportunity to visit three schools that were paired with my former school Eastwood Elementary. I am so excited to witness learning first hand in these schools. Tomorrow I visit the Southwest University Experimental Kindergarten Program. This school is on campus and houses 700+ Early Years students primarily parented by the faculty of the University. I look forward to sharing images, quotes and learning from these visits.

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Lecture On Chinese teacher Ed.m4a

Today I was given an ear bud with three preset channels in preparation for listening to the Chinese to English Interpreters.

I am pretty sure there are teachers back home showing the kids sfuff that I am experiencing so I’ve included a sample to listen to.

There were 11 speeches (as they called them) 8 of which were delivered directly from the heads of Universities in China about the status of Teacher Education and Educational Outreach to communities in distant and remote places in the country. Serious planning has to be considered when you are a nation of 1.4 Billion people. On top of the population issue is the fact that China just announced (March, 2016) that the “One Child Policy” was abandoned and families can now have two children legally. Kindergarten teachers are in high demand. I understand from some kindergarten teachers here in China that they have updated the curriculum so that children understand what it means that their mothers are pregnant and expecting.


The system worked seamlessly. There was one catch… Read the PowerPoint on screen…..

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