Honoring Revolutionary History: Our Class in Dong Wu Xing Village
By Zhao Junfang, Director and Program Manager
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.
We started to collaborate with this school in July 2010 and are currently developing curriculum for our flagship subjects, reading and integrated practice classes, there. This semester the topic of our integrated practice class is to study the history of this old revolutionary village and help the children to better understand the place where they live. We found that many children don't know this part of history and only have a few guesses or assumptions about it. Our hope is that through interviews, readings, a visit to a museum, and other activities that they will increase their understanding of this very important part of the history of their community. We don't want them to have to piece together what bits and pieces are available in textbooks.
Listening to Stories from the Elders
After watching a movie about the anti-Japanese war, students engaged in vigorous discussion about the incidents and characters in the movie. They said they wanted to know more information. Some children said their grandpa or grandma had told them that Japanese soldiers used to live in their village. Everyone was very curious about what live was like then.
After a few classes preparing, we decided to interview an 86-year-old man in the villages.
He was only fifteen years old when the Japanese invaded their village. He sat in our classroom and answered the children's questions with bits and pieces of his memory. He talked about how his family left, the destruction of the village, the pain, the suffering. After the interview was over, he was moved to recite an old rhyme which described the history from 1937-1945.
Putting it into their own words
After the interview, with the guidance of the teachers, the students organized the information from the interview and categorized and summarized it. They used their own words to tell their friends and family what they had heard. They practiced how to write an interview report.
Making a Personal Plan
The next step will be to discuss with students what they already know about their village's revolutionary history and what they still want to find out. How will they gather information? Where can they get help? We will help them to make their own plan for the next activity.
- about us
- get involved