Chongqing - Many parents in China are wondering how to help their children improve their foreign language skills after changes to weekend education banned private school tutoring for core subjects. English teacher and author of Kai's Diary Jorah Kai sat down with Randy Green and his son Chester recently at their favorite local pizza shop, Pizza House at Longfor Paradise Walk, ShiYouLu, to discuss their new business, supplemental educational website, Mindfleet (mindfleet.cn). With the various education reforms still reshaping the afterschool teaching market in China, attempting to reduce the cost of educating children and burden on their free time ("double reduction"), Mindfleet comes at an auspicious time to offer an alternative to parents who'd like to give their children an interesting and engaging way to improve their English reading proficiency and vocabulary.
Mindfleet, the brainchild of Randy Green, professor emeritus at Zhengzhou University in Henan province, and author of China Bound: Relocate, Rebuild, Reinvent, Chinese Road Trip and Chester the Messer, was created to make it easy to offer the Postcards from Space series into China after he found it challenging to import them to read to his own son. The website, postcardsfromspace.uk.co, offers a 12 part story from author Miles Hudson about a boy and his dog as they explore the galaxy. Personally addressed to the child and arriving via post "directly from space" once a week, they are designed to create excitement for science education, English reading, and vocabulary building and cultivate an appreciation for stories. After incredible success, spin-offs, "Postcards from Deep Space" and "Postcards from Volcanos" were created, and Mindfleet, as an affiliate in partnership with Postcards from Space creator Miles Hudson, offers this package now direct inside China. Additional swag such as T-shirts are available. They have plans to bring more stories and other educational content to Chinese parents interested in and looking for creative ways to keep their children engaged in learning a foreign language rather than homework and tutoring classes.
"Mostly, we have found that the kids are interested in the stories, and they are curious and want to know, and when they are curious, they will begin to understand. It's not working, it's not homework, it's fun," said Randy Green, of why he thinks the project can be an interesting alternative to homework and rote English practice in engaging young learners.
"Iguda (the dog) and Tanno (the boy) are very interesting. It's very fun. It's not homework," said Chester.
Check out the interview with longtime ex-pat Randy Green and his son for the full story!
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