School brings joy back into education
Updated: 2013-06-18 07:24
By Liu Jun (China Daily)
"Everyone, please seize this rare opportunity to hit a teacher!" bellowed a voice from the playground, where a small crowd of eager students and suspicious parents had gathered around a foreign teacher drenched from head to toe.
"Mom, I want to try it!" my son jumped with joy.
It was Children's Day, and my son's school was having a big carnival with performances, classroom tours and cuisine prepared by parents.
I was amazed by the students' costumes. Girls dressed as Snow White, a group who looked like they had ransacked an American indigenous tribe's wardrobe, and a troupe of Brazilian samba girls in glittering blue dresses.
My son and his classmates were equally gallant, wearing the shirts of Arsenal and other British soccer teams. The girls had lovely skirts with multiple blue-white layers. Such tasteful costumes were due to the efforts of some devoted parents who had searched far and wide online.
The international day has been a time-honored tradition at SMIC Private School, run by the Taiwan-based Semiconductor Manufactory International Corporation.
Last year, each class presented a different country, and my son learned much about Austria. When students toured other classes and correctly answered questions, they got stamps on their "passports". With enough stamps, my son proudly carried home a big globe.
This year, China, the US, Britain, France and Brazil were presented from different angles. British sports was the theme of my son's class.
Back in the classroom, the students swiftly divided themselves into four groups, in which they rotated to receive visitors and tour the different "countries".
Although no class staged a costume show from some French novel, or turned the classroom into a creepy jungle, the students' creativity and enthusiasm were touching.
In a classroom of the English track, we found some neatly written dairies. A Chinese girl explained in perfect English that they had written the journals by imagining the life of early pioneers to the American Wild West, then spilled coffee and burned the paper to make them look aged.
In a grade-1 Chinese class, two girls meticulously explained the history and cuisine of Shanghai to my son, who listened attentively, amid all the noise and confusion.
He solemnly applied a sticker to this class' evaluation chart - this year, instead of gaining awards, the students learned to appreciate others' work and give comments constructively.
When it was my son's turn to be the tour guide, the boy assumed a serious air, reading from his prepared text while pointing at the athletes' photos.
Among his eager listeners was the school's vice-principal, who knelt on one knee to look at the young tour guide at eye level. When he asked my son questions, to my great relief, the boy answered without stammering.
After getting an ice cream from the food stand run by the parents of his class, my son dashed to the playground.
Standing in the circle was another teacher, who was the target of a water-bomb game.
From a big bucket, my boy scooped a water-filled balloon, took careful aim, then hurled it with all his might.
"Wow!" the crowd exclaimed. The water ball landed on the victim's head squarely and exploded. The teacher laughed heartily with everyone else.
Honestly speaking, when we signed our son up for this international school, we never envisioned such rebellious, or even casual rapport between the students and teachers.
This year's Children's Day has taught us so much about the true nature and fun of education.
(China Daily USA 06/18/2013 page9)