The Week Without Walls is an experiential education that serves the purpose of making the student body more international minded and supports our students on their pursue to become better global citizens. On November 19th, the G11 and G12 students travelled to Longshan County in Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture and spent one week volunteering at Zhaoshi Middle School.
Having learned that the majority of local students are poor left-behind children, our students initiated a school-wide fundraising event. After half a month of hard work, they received a lot of clothing, school supplies, books and money. When they arrived there, they delivered all these donations to the students. The next day they visited two of the more needy families from the school, and gave money to the children to be used as tuition. This money will allow the students to continue studying. The visit shocked many of the students, giving them the opportunity to learn about the hardships of children in remote areas, and to cherish the learning resources and environment they have here at WES.
The WWW in Longshan aims as well to develop students problem-solving and research skills. Prior to this trip, teachers and students discussed and worked out six topics including regional culture, economic development, poverty alleviation policies, infrastructure construction, etc. Students were divided into three groups to study the topic they selected by searching information and designing questionnaire before departure. During the week in Longshan, they continued with their investigation which led them to create their own summary report. In their report you’ll see how they analyzed the educational backwardness in poor areas as well as their suggestions for improving the situation.
Volunteer Teaching 爱心支教，教学相长
During that week, our students volunteered as English teachers for local students. Their lessons included a treasure hunt, word contests, guessing games… they made English so fun! The local children loved it and were enthusiastic to learn. After class, our students were surrounded by the younger ones to answer questions about English learning. A few lessons have already raised the awareness of our students of the difficulty of being a teacher, and made them realize the educational problems existing in that area. With the expectation of their sharing being helpful to the local children in English learning, they understood the educational development in poor areas requires the support of the entire society.
【Student Feedback 我的感想】
Longshan was a place where I have never visited before. We drove almost 8 hours to arrive to a small village in the middle of mountains. The first look of the school for me was quite shocking. There were still a lot of students in that small school. Cafeteria of school still uses coal to cook, students’ dorm rooms and bathrooms were unclean, I was concerned about the hygiene. However, unlike the facilities, people in the school were actually really not hostile toward our crew, luckily.
A week in Longshan taught me many lessons. Obviously, it was a good opportunity to learn leading people. I learned how to speak effectively, as I taught nearly 60 students in a class. I have been learning in a student’s view. However, this experience gave me learning something in a tutor’s view. We tried to come up with methods that could help students to understand in more ease. I think this is a great method of study, I actually want to apply to my studies in A levels as well.
Jenny Ye 叶简简
We taught the students in Zhaoshi Middle School and had an unforgettable time with them. Despite the fact that they are middle years students, they don’t know some basic English words because they only started to learn English in G7. Their educational needs are really obvious. Later, we visited some local families. We met a student whose father is congenitally blind and mother mentally ill but this girl really works hard. You could see a wall full of awards when you entered her house. Her grandfather thanked us for the money donation with tears in his eyes. We hope we can give more financial help to students who are as good as she is but are economically disadvantaged. During the week in the Longshan, I deeply felt the lack of living and educational resources and I hope I can help them in both ways.
Danny Ye 叶单单
We spent the week beginning November 19th in Longshan, a remote area in Xiangxi. Before we went there, we planned lessons for local students. Our group was thinking to talk about the difference between Chinese and American culture. It took eight hours for us to arrive there and everyone was very tired. The next day, we had classes. When entering the classroom, it was crowded and noisy, and some facilities were old, but the children were very excited and enthusiastic. Soon, we found that their English level was far lower than expected, so we had to teach bilingually. Through this trip, I realized that we’re provided with much better educational resources compared to the children in Longshan. We should cherish what we haveand study harder.
A week in Longshan has enabled the students to develop an understanding of issues of poverty while simultaneously helping the people there. This program is designed to give students the experiences that will inspire them to become caring global citizens who are aware of the wider world, care about people and the environment, and take action to make the world a better place.