With headquarters in both Beijing, China and Ann Arbor, Michigan, Golden Courage International is uniquely positioned to promote peace and cross-cultural understanding between the U.S. and China.
In a variety of programs and activities, Golden Courage International has taken a leadership role in creating meaningful ways to connect people and ideas in these two dynamic and powerful countries.
Golden Courage International is helping Ann Arbor, MI to take advantage of opportunities that require a global perspective and global connections. The organization is providing a variety of ways for citizens to become more directly involved in international relations, bringing long-term benefits both to our community and to communities in China.
In July, 2012, five volunteer American teachers and program director, Diana Wong, Ph.D., traveled to China and Yanqing #2 High School to implement the Culture and Language English Achievement (C-LEAP) pilot program with over 90 children.
The C-LEAP program emphasized oral English language skills with a focus on pronunciation and audio comprehension. Over 50% of the children were from the Golden Courage program and the others were sons and daughters of local families and school and government officials.
The 10-day intensive pilot program incorporated themes such as U.S. family life, shopping, food, careers and education. The focus was on vocabulary development, culture and meaning, intonations and idioms and verbal communication. Although many of the children take English classes in China, they tend to focus on writing and reading. Therefore, encouraging the children to speak only English was a big challenge for them.
The program was evaluated based on a verbal and written pre-test on Day 1 and a verbal and written post-test on Day 10. The results were astounding. After the 10-day course, the average student scores for the oral test rose by an overall average of 59%. What was most impressive was the level of confidence and fluency in trying to speak English. Students were beaming with pride and happiness in being able to practice their oral language skills with native English speakers.
In the C-LEAP, students engaged in many different innovative interactive learning activities to maximize opportunities for practicing English. Students played word games, wrote skits and poems, engaged in role plays, worked in teams, listened to presentations, discussed cultural insights, created art works, and developed friendships. Every activity provided students with new ways to practice and advance their oral English language skills because they were able to practice within a meaningful context. This makes learning English fun and REAL! Students also listened to special presentations on different topics such as being a student in the US, preparing for IS college applications, college life in the US, and getting a job. The students really enjoyed the special guest presentations by Dr. Lu, Quentin Millette (14) and Maya Millette (12), and Keri Newton.
Students enjoyed working in small groups to practice speaking with the teachers. The classrooms were often noisy with lots of laughing. When students practiced to make improvements, their classmates often gave applause of encouragement. They reminded and encouraged each other by saying, “Speak English!”. The teachers also had an opportunity to visit the homes of Amy and Alison (given English names) and witness the difficult economic situations and extreme poverty that many of the Golden Courage International (GCI) children face. The Golden Courage program improves their lives and is essential to their education, their family and their future. Without GCI, these children would not have the opportunity to attend school and, instead, have to stay home to care for a sick parent or find work to provide food and basic necessities for their family.
The pilot program concluded with an emotional and powerful closing ceremony. All the students performed a skit or recited their poems with great excitement and nervousness. Celebrating the students’ accomplishments also included words of immense appreciation and sincere gratitude for the teachers, the students and the school officials. Thank you to the U.S. volunteers who taught in this program: Sara Al-Rawi, Katarina Lu, Keri Newton, Amy St. Amour, Tina Watson, and Diana Wong; a special appreciation to our supporting volunteers – Dr.Wayne Millette, Quentin and Maya Millette.