Mongolian college students – thumbnail sketch

I’ve now observed 3 classes, done 3 formal presentations, and guest taught 3 classes, all at National University of Mongolia, and I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of the way the students here behave and feel.

They’re pretty happy, I’d say! Chatty, sociable, chummy – they don’t have worried looks on their faces and they are thoroughly enjoying their college experience.

Today, taught a song I have taught several – no, many – times over the years and I can say that I’ve NEVER seen an enthusiasm level even close to these students’. By the second time they heard the song, with lyric sheets in hand, everybody in the room was singing, loudly but tunefully – and when I left the classroom after packing up, 3-4 small groups of students were singing the song again in the hallway.

It was the song “Man of Constant Sorrow” from the movie Oh Brother Where art Thou? a wonderful bluegrass tune. I had been showing a short powerpoint about bluegrass before playing the song, but then the electricity went out; however, it was fine because my computer and its plug in speaker were fully charged and able to function on battery power, so the show went on! However, the powerpoint met an untimely ending…

By the way, when students were given the lyric sheet (after doing a cloze activity) they all pulled out their smart phones right away to look up vocabulary unknown to them — I sure hope those online dictionaries are good because they are now the dictionaries of choice, all over the world.

A good and melodious time was had by all.


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