二十五年的實驗4
重返美國

陳碧華 執筆

雖然康乃爾經營的有聲有色,但站在一個學術的立場,我很擔心我自己閉門造車,更擔心誤人子弟。因為過去在研究所學的是企業管理,而非教育,雖然康乃爾佳評如潮,但我總覺得很難讓家長知道我們所做的是最好的。渴望重返研究所的心是如此強烈,但我又無法放著學校與家庭一走了之,天天內心交戰,夜夜暗自飲泣,覺得自己像是隻沒有翅膀的鳥,一心想一飛沖天,但卻動彈不得。當年放棄一切,跟著錫東舉家返台的那股心中的痛一再被撩起。1996年我再也忍不住不展翅高飛尋夢去,雖然沒有了翅膀,但我相信心中那把熊熊的烈火足以讓我遨翔天際。帶著爾嘉我重返美國,留下錫東和康與一個菲傭,許多朋友想我頭殼壞了,但我知道我已經失去一次機會,我無法再失去另一次,人生是如此短促。

到達美國,我改修教育,爾嘉則進入當地最負盛名的一所私立學校就讀5年級。雖然經過這麼多年辛苦的工作,我應該也可以喘一下氣,享受一下這麼得來不易的美國生活。不過我知道我身負更大的任務就是利用研究所的學習,驗證我在康乃爾所作所為與理論相符,也希望利用爾嘉來評估在康乃爾製造的學生,英文到底道不道地。

在日夜苦讀之下,很快的我發現研究所中所學各種教學理論,和我在康乃爾自行摸索設計的教學方式不謀而合,研究所教授也覺得康乃爾學生的表現不可思議。當時全世界有正式學術論文發表的例子只有加拿大全法語情境的學習,教授鼓勵我將康乃爾的實驗正式發表在學術期刊中供世人參考,也可以幫助外國學生學習英語。

我很開心爾嘉也沒辜負期望,在全新的環境中唸書如魚得水,甚至還數度代表學校參加各種學科競試,證明他的英語能力的確可以與美國孩子相較量,有趣的是爾嘉在康乃爾的表現還只算是中等的學生。

當我正興奮的努力收割豐碩的成果,萬萬沒想到一件令人驚恐的事件發生。1996年正值台灣總統大選,為了阻擋李登輝總統繼續連任,中共展開軍事恫嚇,每天CNN有關報導鋪天蓋地,康乃爾的外籍老師惶惶不可終日,擔心飛彈就在身旁爆炸,他們的父母強烈要求康乃爾將外籍老師撤至安全地區,也就是說離開台灣。在這種險惡的處境下,我一方面要應付研究所的功課,一方面要安撫人心,身心交瘁!記得一天的午夜,我終於拾起電話,悲傷地告訴康乃爾主管,如果外籍老師離去,康乃爾就宣佈結束,當時電話兩端我们泣不成聲,但我別無選擇!

這是一個恐怖的夢魘,事隔多年,至今回想起來,仍是令人一身寒顫。


 

A Twenty-Five Year Experiment 4
Studying In The USA

By Bih-Hua Chen

My school kept growing bigger and bigger, but there had always been an urge for me to go back to school.  As a perfectionist, I couldn’t stand any flaws in my work.  My school was doing beautifully, but I had doubts whether I was doing right things for the students because my major was MBA but not Education.  I couldn’t explain to parents what I did was the best for their kids no matter how many compliments I received.  I wanted to go back to school so badly but I couldn’t just drop my family and school to fulfill my dream.  It was such a pain!  The same feelings I had when I dropped everything to move back with Shyi-Dong from the States many years ago.  I felt like a bird whose wings had been clipped.  The bright blue sky was calling, but I just couldn’t fly.  There were countless nights I sobbed in the dark and felt sorry for myself.  In 1996 I decided that I had to take off even without any wings to flap in the air.  I believed that my burning desire would keep me soaring.  I took Chia with me back to the States and left Kang with Shyi-Dong along with a Filipino maid.  People thought I was crazy, but I knew nothing could stop me because I already missed my chance once and I couldn’t afford to miss out twice.  Life is so short! 

After we arrived in Macon, Georgia, I enrolled Chia in a prestigious private school and I went back to the graduate school of Mercer University to study in Education.  It was such a precious opportunity for me to fulfill my dream and I believed I deserved a relaxing and enjoyable life after many years of hard work.  However, I knew something was much more important and I needed to use Chia as a specimen sample to see whether Cornel students were comparable with American students.  I also tried to use my studies to exam Cornel to see whether I was leading the school in the right direction.

After burying myself in the books, I found excitedly that the theories I learned from the books and journals proved what I did at Cornel was just right.  My professors were amazed with the achievement of Cornel and they encouraged me to publish a paper in a journal.  At that time, there was only one research paper published regarding second language learning in the world.  It was about research in a French immersion program implemented in Canada.

I was very happy that Chia didn’t fail me either.  He loved his new school and was selected by the school to participate in several academic competitions.  His outstanding performance proved that Cornel students were competitive with their American counterparts especially as Chia was just an average student at Cornel.

While I was happily reaping up the harvest in the States, something drastic happened.  It was the year of the presidential elections and the government in China launched many military maneuvers to threaten Taiwanese people who wanted to elect President. Lee for a second term.  Everyday the CNN news released all the frightening news and our foreign teachers were panicking that the missiles might hit them in Taiwan.  Their parents strongly demanded that the school evacuate the teachers to a safe place; in other words, to leave Taiwan.  It was such a horrible situation I was in.  On one hand, I had my unfulfilled mission, and on the other hand, I had the responsibility of keeping Cornel running safely.  I remember once at midnight, I finally made a phone call to the Cornel administrators to tell them to close up Cornel if the foreign teachers decided to leave. On both ends of the telephone line, we cried, but what could I do?

It was such a bitter ordeal that every time when I recall it, I get goose bumps all over my body.

 

兒童雙語幼稚園:
康乃爾&康爾嘉英語【官方網站】http://www.ecornel.com.tw
康乃爾&康爾嘉英語【facebook粉絲團】http://www.facebook.com.tw/cornelfans
康乃爾&康爾嘉英語【Youtube影音網】http://www.youtube.com/user/corneltai

英文有聲書雜誌:
彩虹時間兒童英語故事有聲月刊【部落格】http://www.wretch.cc/blog/CRainbowTime
彩虹時間兒童英語故事有聲月刊【facebook粉絲團】http://www.facebook.com.tw/rtfans

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