Lesson Topic Predictions
We've had several hundred lesson topic suggestions. I thought it might be fun to make some lesson topic predictions, especially now that news and features upcoming lesson announcements aren't as regular or comprehensive. It won't count of course if it's already been announced either in N&F or by a staff member elsewhere. I guess the prediction can be as specific as you want, perhaps even naming the level and day, or it could be just predicting something in the next month at any level. Obviously predicting a food related lesson in the next year isn't going to get much applause.
bababardwanOctober 10, 2010, 11:02 AM
ok, well I guess I better kick off with a prediction of my own. I predict that within the 5 days before Halloween, there will be an Intermediate level lesson on Halloween.
bababardwanOctober 10, 2010, 11:11 AM
In general, apart from lessons related to some upcoming Chinese big holidays,festivals or events [eg recent yuebing lesson], and lessons that are part of a series, I don't think it will be that easy to predict upcoming lessons. I think some things are worth considering though. Firstly there are lesson topic suggestions that seemed popular. There could also be one that might stem from a discussion on the boards, or frequently asked questions. I think perhaps one of the most challenging and yet most interesting way to arrive at a prediction might be to look at new vocab introduced in recent lessons. CPod has a method of reinforcing new vocab by bringing the vocab up again in a subsequent lesson or two. So if you spot an interesting bit of vocab, perhaps particularly one that may be worth exploring in a different context, guessing that other context may help you arrive at a prediction. I don't know how successful this will be, but it could be interesting. Anyone up for it? Also, I'm sure there may be other pointers...any one got any?
I'll have a try at using the last method. ok, well looking at the latest intermediate level lesson...music corner in the park, 2 words stick out as potential candidates for further exploration in different contexts. the first is 爱好, mainly because it was used a little differently in this lesson, but it has popped up in previous lessons, so I'll go with the second word that pops out...请教。 I predict there will be a lesson in the next 2 weeks in which this word will appear. It will be more in the form of a professional consult, perhaps in a business consult and will also be at Intermediate level.
bodaweiOctober 10, 2010, 01:05 PM
Ok Baba, I'm going to bite. Let me say though that I don't believe in prophesies, except those of the self-fulfilling kind, so maybe my speculation below will lead to something. :)
1. to think of what I'd like, and then imagine the meeting with John, Jenny, Connie sitting around, and accept that they are just not going to like my suggestions. So, never what first comes into my head.
2. they like some continuities; if you've heard it before you will probably hear it again (see 'Taxis').
3. they like middle class topics (houses, travel, culture).
4. some echoing of subject matter at different levels.
So it goes like this:
Elementary: I'd like a lesson on 'getting a condom from the street dispenser'. It's not going to happen; it'll be something about taxis. No wait, too obvious; I'll go with 'How to put money on your mobile phone'.
Intermediate: I'd like one on 'Self-censorship in the Chinese media' (a discussion at an editorial meeting about a difficult section of a TV series and how they should cut it). But it will probably be 'A bus trip to Yiwu' or 'A tour of a silk factory'.
Upper-intermediate: I'd like one on 'Buying a flat off the plan'. Okay, I think I might stay with this. There has been quite a lot on housing lately.
Advanced: I'd like one on stories about human rights activists in the foreign media. I wonder if they might hide it away at Advanced level, but it's not going to happen. No-one wants to talk about the big Panda in the room. It might be about 'The spectre of a housing bubble'.
Actually, this has been fun but I like to surprised. And I am, more often than not. They do a great job.
bodaweiOctober 10, 2010, 01:14 PM
You know I just thought of a promotion - they should invite one paying customer/winner a month to attend a planning meeting and participate in the discussion about lesson topics. A prize for say a competition? Like, what I like about ChinesePod in 140 characters. Or, best response to a problem or riddle. Best submitted hand-writing? Best submitted DIALOGUE at Elementary level! Or just a game of chance - pick a name out of an electronic hat.
You'd have to go to China, but hell the prices are coming down all the time.
simonpetersen is not allowed to compete because he has won way too much lately. :)
bodaweiOctober 10, 2010, 03:30 PM
I want to change my predictions (I have seen the future). There is definitely a lesson coming on the National Census.* At Intermediate level I expect. Look forward to it. :)
* See separate post in General Discussion.
I'll agree with this prediction [ but you still get the credit of course mate, hehe] . An interesting topic, and relatively uncommon event which could make for an interesting dialogue as well as follow up discussion. The question will be whether such a lesson comes out before the census so it's useful to someone like yourself who will actually get involved [ either way, I'd love to hear if you managed to conduct the interview in Chinese and how it went], or whether it comes out after the event when the dialogue script writers have had the experience of going through the census themselves. I guess it could come down to a couple of factors.....how long this census has been generally known about and thus time to come up with the idea of it being a lesson and getting it into production, and how predictable the census format/questions will be [ I guess pretty predictable] and also how close to authentic they want the dialogue to be.
Hmm, the ChinesePod teachers would probably remember the last one even if they were in High School (no disrespect of course). Their parents would remember as well, and together with media reports at the time they would have material to draw from. I hope they come out with it soon (now - 10 Nov) - while it is hot news.
There could be speculation about the population but I don't think there will be too many surprises. Population is pretty easy to forecast because the drivers change so slowly. However, mobility will be one of the big stories. I am canvassing each of my students about where they come from and it is really quite surprising - the majority do not come from here. Many say they moved to get away from parents!
The actual questions can be fun, new ones usually being added each Census, while keeping old ones so you can compare with previous surveys. I helped form questions for the 1976 Census in Aust, right place, right time. :) Ouch, nearly 35 yrs ago.
I'd like to see the question: ni gan ma? ..pretty random I know,particularly for a census, but I love that question. It should come with audio [ like those birthday cards you open up and poke fun at your age with some joke]. Besides, such an open question could lead to some interesting answers. Some revelations that specific questions won't pick up on, hehe. Might prompt a few guilty confessions.
Lol. We could have some fun with this (if I didn't have to work today). I can't remember my questions in 1976 - they were something about housing types - but what would you like to ask the resident population of China??
[To head of household] How many children do you have?
How many hours per week do you work/study?
Number of occupants in your normal place of residence?
Floor area of your normal place of residence?
The year your residence was built?
Does your residence have air-conditioning?
How do you normally travel to work or study? (Private car/bus/train/电动车/bicycle)
How many hours per day do you spend travelling to and from work/study?
How many days of paid/unpaid holidays did you have in the past 12 months?
How many hours a day do you spend on the Internet (work & home)?
How many hours a day do you spend watching TV?
How many times a year do you travel to your hometown?
Name your hometown.
Name your mother's hometown.
Name your father's hometown.
How many meals a week do you eat at home?
How many meals a week do you eat at a restaurant or canteen?
How many years have you spent taking formal classes in English?
What is the normal language spoken in your workplace/classroom?
What language do you normally speak at home?
How many times in the past year did you visit another province?
How many times in the past year did you travel outside China?
How many children do you have?
hehe, given the one child policy, can you imagine the kids scurrying under beds and into cupboards while the parents are being interviewed..and the listening in...wondering when it's safe to emerge.
The last student I 'interviewed' in class comes from 福建 (Fujian) and has two siblings. Three kids in the family; at 21 she is the oldest. Quite a few of my students admit to having siblings. They are presumably either minority nationalities or come from a farming family (I don't ask - I usually say "Oh, that's nice to have a brother [or sister]"). But yeah, some kids in illegal situations might be passed around the family over the next few weeks, if they haven't already been found out - but in my (limited) experience there is no big secret. They are either too poor to be affected by the fines or too rich to care about the money. :)
Had dinner last night with a 25 year old who is one of seven children; four are younger than her. Clearly the one-child policy should not be interpreted too literally.
Also at dinner there was talk about how lots of Chinese households are refusing to answer the (or some) Census questions. Maybe they ask for estimated annual income? :)
Bit of a dilemma for the authorities. There are rules about how the information is to be collected but it relies on co-operation of the interviewees.
"relies on co-operation of the interviewees"
..yeah, always important to understand how data is obtained and thus how reliable. So I wonder how accurate this nearly 1.4 billion Chinese population estimate is. If all these kids are being hidden away, could we be pushing the figure be significantly higher?
'One Child Policy' update. Talking tonight over dinner to a woman who is one of five. Says one grandmother was a minority (passed on now.) I'm wondering if there is a system where you can claim minority status for a couple of generations - I don't know how this works. But in two consecutive evenings I have been 'introduced' to 12 children from two separate families. Several of them could be over the age limit for being included in the policy (I don't like to pry too much.) Now what is also interesting is the oldest sister has three children of her own. They are from farming country but I thought the limit for farmers was two. Hang on - two are twins, so they must have come second.
Oh, and last week in class one of my students aged 20 said she has six siblings.
That 1.4 billion is looking good to me. Incidentally, amused by John Howard's declaration that China would 'fall behind' India economically because of, inter alia, the One Child Policy. What was that about?
bodaweiOctober 31, 2010, 08:07 AM
Now for a bit of 'confirmation bias'. :)
On the 10 October I posted.. 'if you've heard it before you will probably hear it again (see 'Taxis').' On 27 October we got a lesson on Taxis.
Okay, that wasn't too hard, and my 40 other predictions have not worked out. :( Yet. :)