I’ve spent the last five days on the road doing promotional lectures for New Channel. We usually speak to university students, hoping that they will come to Beijing and take IELTS or TOEFL classes during the summer break, but last night in Changsha we spoke to 800 elementary school students.
They were fourth, fifth and sixth grade students at the LuShan International school, with whom we are holding an English summer camp starting in July. I didn’t know that we were going to be speaking to elementary school students until I arrived in Changsha from Shenyang.
The lecture hall was quite a scene. When we first walked in only one of the classes had arrived, but their running, screaming and laughing was enough to make the place seem full. One of the kids challenged me to arm wrestle. I let him win, and he was followed by twenty new challengers who each defeated me over the next minute.
After all of the students had arrived, a teacher had the difficult task of quieting them down–at least enough so that the lecture could start. The students had each been given bookmarks, and some were inspecting them and waving them around. The teacher pinpointed the bookmarks as a cause of the rowdiness: “The bookmarks are interesting, but the lecture will be even more interesting!”
I was the first to speak, and I rattled on for about twenty minutes telling stories and offering English-learning tips. The kids were a lot of fun, but I don’t think I ever had more than several hundred paying attention at one time. I’m pretty good at speaking to groups of university students, but I think I need to work on my elementary school lecture skills.
After the lecture I was mobbed by students asking me to sign their bookmarks.