Term Review: Muse Coffee Chat Season Three
Muse Coffee Chat provided a platform where students exchanged thoughts with teachers. Professors shared their life experiences to enlighten students to improve teacher-student communication.
Episode One: Matthew Morgan-James
In this episode, Mr. Matthew Morgan-James first talked about English learning. He shared some tips on enhancing students’ essay writing and speaking skills. He also reminded students that “Do not learn English only for passing examinations.” The skills outweigh the academic results. To learn a language, one should not only focus on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, but also pay attention to the culture elements embedded in the language. This topic also evoked students’ interests in British culture. Matthew’s humor spiced up the whole conversation.
“Matthew once left his homeland Britain and went to Mexico, now he’s in China because he is fascinated with local culture and he wants to take challenges. Of these two reasons, the latter touches me the most. ‘One needs to step out of his comfort zone to take different challenges and steel oneself if he wants to gain success.’”
——ZHONG Hanxiao, freshman of 2017, School of Management and Economics (SME)
Episode Two: ZHANG Yin
With grey hair, Prof. ZHANG wore a pair of glasses, looking neat, smart, and calm. He shared some of his unique experiences, including those years in the Cultural Revolution and the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement. Meanwhile, he provided some tips on academic planning. “Follow your passion and choose a major that can enhance your advantage. Remember where you begin. ” Some students worried that they did not have a good command of basic knowledge. In response to that, Prof. ZHANG took his own experience in studying Applied Mathematics as an example. “Apart from basic knowledge, other elements also matter, including creativity and innovation.” Prof. ZHANG also answered some questions in Applied Mathematics.
“It was my first time to join Muse Coffee Chat. Despite the fact that most students asked questions in Mathematics, Prof. ZHANG’s answers were intriguing and enlightening. His personal experience, suggestions on academic planning, and opinions about theory learning and applications in Mathematics inspired me a lot. By the way, I really enjoyed the provided cakes in Muse Coffee Chat!”
——DING Siyuan, freshman of 2017, School of Science and Engineering (SSE)
Episode Three: Kevin J. Bruestle
“I' ve been familiar with Mr. Kevin Bruestle because he teaches me English this semester. He usually does not set strict deadlines, while he is rigorous academically. He is meticulous when it comes to work. After talking with him in this episode, I regard Mr. Bruestle as the one who truly understands the meaning of education and sets his heart on chasing his dreams.”
——CHENG Jiaming, freshman of 2017, School of Humanities and Social Science (SHSS)
Dr. XIAO started the coffee chat with a question “What do you do before writing an A paper?” This created a classroom atmosphere. Students mentioned some fundamental elements to write an A-level essay, including looking for references, following teachers' instructions, and paying attention to grammar. In this episode, Dr. XIAO helped solve students’ problems in English learning.
“Dr. XIAO initiated the talk with a question ‘How to write an A-level essay?’ and provided suggestions on enhancing one’s writing and speaking skills, including ‘thinking in English’, English shower talk, and summarizing one’s day with three pleasant things in English to trigger positive reinforcement. He also shared his experience in studying abroad. This helped him get to know various cultures and understand different modes of thinking. Thanks to Dr. XIAO, this time, I believe a one-hour talk may change one’s choice, or even one’s life.”
——ZHAO Yuan, freshman of 2017, SME
Episode Five: ZHANG Jia
To begin with, Mr. ZHANG talked about his life in the Department of Library and Information Science at Peking University. He believed that the experience during those four years had a profound influence on his later life. Mr. ZHANG also mentioned his study experience in the U.S. He studied for several years and later worked in a few university libraries. The working experience in Stanford University libraries impressed him the most. He provided service for professors, while he had to carry out detailed evaluations. Since then he understood he had to meet the rigorous standards and requirements to work for the library. When asked how one should spend his/her four years in college, Mr. ZHANG stressed that one should find his/her interests rather than focusing on profits since one usually discovers his/her core values during his/her college years.
“I’ve always believed that becoming a librarian is really cool since I was little. Although I’ve been to many libraries, it was my first time to talk with a chief librarian. Mr. ZHANG talked about his study and working experiences in America and differences between Chinese and Western cultures. He also exchanged thoughts with students on our university’s library’s development.”
——ZHU Anyu, freshman of 2017, SME
Episode Six: Ester Aventin
Ms. Ester Aventin is from Spain. She currently manages study-abroad programs and administers the affairs of summer school in South-East Asian, European, and North American regions for students from the University of Sussex. Students asked questions about living in the UK and cultural difference in this episode.
“It was great to have Ms. Ester Aventin in this episode. She was so warm-hearted that she answered students’ questions and communicated with us for one and a half hours straight. As a Spanish girl working in Britain, she had already been exposed to different cultures before she came to China. She took this challenge, learned to fit into British people' s timetable, and started to learn about British people’s characters. However, she could not adapt to the temperate oceanic climate in the UK. I asked her a bunch of questions about living in the UK since I am going to Britain for summer school programs. She answered all my questions, stressed the importance of transportation safety, and recommended me several applications to help me know better about Britain. Thanks to this opportunity, I gained more information about living and studying in the UK.”
——SHI Xiaotong, sophomore, SME As a Spanish girl working in Britain, she had already been exposed to different cultures before she came to China.