After the tours, we were able to visit with the head master of the school. She shared much information about the students and the building. The students in the school come from the Guizhou province. The teachers are very good, and she said that the “students are lively.” This is an experimental school because it is a relatively new boarding school funded in 2004. As a result, they are still in the experimental process of implementing the school. Only five teachers live here after 9 o’clock to monitor the students in the dormitories. The three core academic areas are Chinese, English literature, and math. The Chinese incorporate the study of philosophy into politics. Chinese students don’t have summer camps.
Students must pass a middle school exam to enter high school. If their score is not high enough they have to choose a different school. Many of the students at this school come from poor families, and 50 of the students don’t have to pay to stay. Their summer break is from July – September; winter is from January – February. Our visit happened at the end of their semester.
Like the students, teachers must pass an exam. They are specialized in one teaching area. Social studies is separated to three separate content areas: politics, history, and philosophy. Parents have to have permission to visit their students during the week. On the weekends, students take a piece of paper home with them to show their parent that is like a progress report.
My delegation focused on the use of technology in education. As a result, we had several questions for the head master of the school. She shared that every classroom has a projector and a screen. Teachers have their own laptops. Computers are not for the students to use freely, only for their lessons. Students learn how to research to get information, but they only use it when they are in computer class. During computer class, students learn basic computer skills like how to use word, excel, and make music. They do not use computers in their content classes. There is no Internet access in the dormitories, because they believe that Internet surfing will negatively influence their studying. iPods or cell phones are prohibited. There is one telephone in each dorm which is shared by all of the children. This brought vivid flashbacks to my OWN college days, during which I stood in line to use the phone to call home. A network connects all the schools in Guiyang.
It was an interesting visit. We were able to explore the school, witness some teaching, and also discuss our experience with the head master of the school. I've stayed in touch with my new friend, Roger, the senior student at the school. She's my new email pen pal, and I'm enjoying getting to know her better.