“Smoking is bad for you.” Children in China are taught this in school. But what if your local economy if based on tobacco? That’s the reality in Yuxi City, Yunnan Province where our program’s Rural Teaching Fellow, Ms. Huimiao Sun, is currently leading a summer camp for children to explore this very topic.
The RCEF Service Learning Handbook breaks new ground in innovative curriculum design for rural students in China. The handbook was written for RCEF staff and cooperating teachers as well as rural educators around the country who are interested in knowing more about service-learning.
This summer, RCEF supported summer camps for rural teachers and children in Shanxi Province. The participating teachers came from rural schools in Shanxi, Sichuan, Anhui, Yunnan, and Gansu Provinces. The goal was to expose them to RCEF's educational philosophy and teaching methods, which the teachers found fresh and thought-provoking.
Dong Wu Xing Primary School is one of our partner schools. It is about 10 kilometers from Yongji City and has about 130 students. They come from three surrounding villages. The school buildings are the most dilapidated we have seen in Yongji. There is no playing field, no fences. Originally it was slated for closure but because of the principal and village head's efforts—and its location in a village that was critical during the anti-Japanese war—it has been able to remain open.
Over the course of this school year, fourth and fifth graders at Guan Ai learned all about sweet potatoes. Past lessons in this year-long unit included explorations into the history and culture of the sweet potato and how it is eaten and used in the village: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]. Principal Sun of RCEF partner Guan Ai Primary School was a lead teacher on this project and describes the last steps of the project which took place in May and June. To see a video, click here.
Selling eggs may just be an ordinary thing in the eyes of villagers but it can be an exciting learning experience for the students from Guan Ai Primary School. Five of our students, Sara Lam and I (Principal Sun) went to the marketplace as an out-of-school educational experience to sell the eggs from the chickens that students have been raising in their extracurricular elective class. Half of our eggs were green, which were apparently rare and drew excitement from the teachers and other villagers.