Mingda School is in Xiji County, Ningxia province and pays attention to rural education in northwest of China, in particular English education. The School provides a relaxing and healthy education environment for the left-behind children living in rural areas.
To elementary school students, an important reason for studying English is their interest. They are still young and cannot understand information very well. So, we cannot simply teach them what is in the textbooks; we must also organize different English-related activities. We need to allow them better learn English in a relaxed and comfortable environment.
This week, we went with college volunteers to Zhenbeibao Yilong Elementary School, hosting an English Story Meeting in the afternoon. In fact, in mountain area schools, the children’s understanding of English is limited to the textbook, since there are no supplementary books for them to better their understanding. So when we mentioned having an English Story Meeting, the students were very excited and could not wait to begin. They all ran to the podium to ask the teacher questions about the meeting, showing their interest for the English Story Meeting.
When the meeting just started, the students could not wait to speak and were afraid there is not enough time for them to talk. Because of the chaos this created, we had to split them into groups. The entire class was split into ten four-person groups. First, stories were told within groups, with each story around 3 minutes. After 15 minutes have passed, we split the ten groups into two larger groups for a story-telling competition. The guidelines were: good body language and proficient spoken English.
Our meeting was about to end without us realizing it. We could tell from the satisfaction in the children’s eyes that this meeting was very successful. In the future, we should try to have more activities, so the students can learn and play at the same time, better grasping new knowledge.
Original article written by Ruiping Zhang, translated and edited by Allison Zhang
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