Monday, November 17, 2008

Zephyr English Institute (ZEI)

Zephyr English Institute (ZEI) is a private English language school for kids in Taipei, Taiwan. The school was opened a handful of years ago by two friends of mine, Bill Allen and Daniel Auckland, and is currently owned by Bill. I’ve been teaching there and writing curriculum since 2004.

At ZEI, we teach Taiwanese kids from the very beginnings (the ABCs). It’s a great feeling to start teaching a 5 or 6-year-old who has no English ability, and then find, within a couple years, that they are capable enough to read, write and insult you in your native language.

In fact I’ve always been a teacher who needles my students towards jokes and irony, and as things go I’m usually set up as Target Number 1. Though they do also have fun using their rudimentary English skills to roast each other.

Recently I’ve been teaching more the upper levels: writing curriculum and teaching kids who’ve already gone well beyond the basics. I’ll be posting occasional things from these classes on this blog. Probably the most postings will come from a class I’ve developed called Creative Mythology.

In Creative Mythology, students are introduced to the Greek gods (the generation of Titans, then Olympians), the Greek mythical understanding of the universe, and and then brought into some of the literature. Just now we’re beginning an abridged version of the Odyssey and I hope to go on to Oedipus Rex in a serious, scholarly translation. The kids are sharp enough for it.

There are around a dozen students in the class just now. The youngest might be 11 or so (I’m not sure), the oldest is 18. It’s a very impressive bunch: many of them are amazingly smart, some are amazing smart alecs, all are very welcome.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

>>some are amazing smart alecs, all are very welcome.

Mind you!You need a very strong heart rather than a clever head. Because you will be picked as a sacrifice during the ritual of new students coming to the class. If you are a dummy, that will be more than welcome because you are the most functional person in the class.
From my personal experience.