Here is a selection of Christmas cards that students participating in the OCEF's remote classroom program at Chaimen Middle School, Huining County, Gansu Province, made for their teachers. Please allow us to “steal” the creativity and love in these cards to extend our holiday wishes to OCEF supporters and their families! Chaimen Middle School is a recipient of OCEF aid and a seed school in the library program. Other aid programs that OCEF is sponsoring at the school include teacher training, scholarships, and supplemental dining hall facilities.
With the Chinese government implementing its "Two Waivers and One Subsidy" policy, the focus of OCEF school aid programs in China has shifted from financial assistance to elementary and junior high school students to improving the quality of teaching in rural schools. In the past few years, volunteers of OCEF had tried several new approaches to accomplish this goal, and one of them features Daily Recitation, a textbook consisting of a collection of articles specially selected for recitation by the children. The book has received rave reviews since it was published in 2007. Ms. Xue Ruiping, the chief editor, has been practicing daily recitation with her students and has been met with much enthusiasm.
During the summer of 2013, the OCEF Library Section organized a training camp for teachers, and Ms. Xue Ruiping was invited to give a talk on promoting reading in regular curriculum, including daily recitation. At 10-15 minutes a day, the daily recitation program does not add much pressure on the teachers, but helps to cultivate in the children the deepest appreciation of their mother tongue. More than 20 schools participated in the summer training and later implemented daily recitation in various forms, ranging from pilot classes to full-school emersion. We are fortunate to have Ms. Kong Xiaoyan, an influential teacher, as a program advisor, who conducts periodic webinars to share thoughts and discuss questions. The participating teachers are encouraged to write down their thoughts and experiences. An adaptation of one of these essays is presented below.
A story from Kaiyuan Elementary School, Jili District, City of Luoyang By Luo Yanhong, Teacher
December 3, 2013, could have been just another sunny day, yet it was destined to be a very special day for the students and teachers of Kaiyuan Elementary School. The bell at the end of the second period was still ringing and all the students were already rushing to the central platform of the school, where stacks of brand-new books are shining under the sunshine.
The children were staring at the books with their eyes wide open, as if there were the most delicious foods in the world. They marveled at the over 800 high-quality books in front of them. To them, this truly was a feast for their minds. Finally we got a great selection of books fitting the needs of the students, thanks to the generous donation by overseas charitable organizations and the active engagement by the school leadership. We decided to spend the entire third period on "Passing on the Books," to deepen the connection between the kids and the books.
The teacher handed the first book to the first kid, who read the title loudly. Before he could browse through the pages, , though, the kids behind him started urging: "pass it on, quickly…" Under the watchful eyes of the teachers, the event went on smoothly, with cries of excitement arising from the ranks here and there.
About 10 minutes later, all the kids became quiet and started reading the books in their hands. Some were tired of standing and got comfortable sitting on the lawn or lying on their stomach. Some murmured while touching the pages lightly with their little fingers, some read their favorite lines aloud, and some showed off the books in their hands to their friends…
A few minutes later, the students started to exchange books with each other. While most kids shared their books, some were so attached to the books they were reading that they declined to pass them on no matter what the teachers and the other kids said, and continued to enjoy them. The teachers sighed, but really were very happy deep in their heart—nothing pleases them more than a kid who loves reading.
The event was simple but meaningful. When it was over, all of the books were passed back to the teachers through the little hands. However, I believe the love for books has been sown in their hearts and will soon germinate and blossom as long as we the teachers attend to their needs.
2013年12月号／December 2013 组稿：杨敏 英译：何雪炀 编校：汤柏
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