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Monday, July 30, 2007

Learning More about Chinese Education

Hey everyone! Sorry for the brief hiatus in blogs... I've been out of town. Now, to continue with the trip:

July 3rd, 2007

This day was extremely busy. We visited 3 schools: Putao Primary, Putao Middle, and Yangshuo Middle School. At each school I gave the principal and the Blessing Hands students gifts. At Putao Primary School, we gave them the English books sent by McBrayer Elementary School as a way to invite them to become Sister Schools. Putao Primary was very interested in this opportunity; they actually had tried to send an e-mail to the Morehead school, but the e-mail was returned... the principal thinks the problem stems from the computer itself malfunctioning. We told them that we understand, that we will be sure to let McBrayer's principal know the situation. Hopefully, McBrayer will be able to send some penpal letters to Putao Primary. Later that afternoon, we made steamed dumplings at Putao Middle School... and they were delicious!

Tomorrow, we will go to XingPing Primary School, where I will teach a 45-minute English lesson. It's going to be very challenging for several reasons. #1 - The little kids are shy to speak English in front of foreigners... and #2 - I'm not sure how much English they already know. However, I think it will be a great experience, especially as I am an education major!

During this trip, I have really enjoyed learning about the Chinese education system. Their school day is VERY different. First off, they get a really long break in the afternoon (in the summer it's from about 12:30-2:30) after lunch for nap time, as it is so hot here. They finish school at around 5-5:30. Secondly, the school is set up very differently. Even in the primary schools, it's more like a college campus. There are gardens, basketball courts, lakes, dining halls, dormitories (some kids live too far away to travel every day), various classroom buildings, and so on. At lunch, the children all bring their own rice bowl to the lunch lady, and she cuts out a square of sticky rice from this large pan and plops it in their bowl (along with meats and vegetables). All the kids wash their own rice bowls after eating. They also are responsible for keeping the school itself clean, and I often saw children with brooms and buckets walking around the schools. Imagine if American students were responsible for cleaning their schools! Finally, the kids are outside MUCH more, playing basketball, running around, and so on. This goes along with the Chinese philosophy of maintaining a healthy body.

Well, tomorrow it's off to Xing Ping... along with a boat ride on the Li River and a viewing of the famous Yangshuo Light Show!

The Blessing Hands students at Putao Middle