Partnership with “Title 1” School in China
As educators working with Mei Wen (a registered, Chinese social enterprise in Henan, People’s Republic of China), my wife and I were excited to be introduced to the principal and administrators of the Xinyang School of Aviation Services and Vo-tech High School in the Pingqiao District, Henan.
The Pingqiao Vo-tech school is the approximate equivalent of a U.S. Title 1 School, wherein, the school receives government funding to serve the at-risk child from low-income to poverty level child who are failing their academics at the Middle School level. The students who attend this school are often classified as “Stay Behind” children, meaning that one or both of their parents are working in other provinces. Often, these children come from impoverished rural families. Many have intellectual acuity but motivation due to the lack of nurture and care from loving family members. The school’s teachers serve as loving surrogate parents and extended family to these children, offering them individual care and practical, vocational skill training so that they can find meaningful employment to thrive in life.
Currently, we (as Mei Wen) are in negotiations with the Pingqiao school to provide “Life Camp” programming, which will include a diversity of learning activities, games, and sports to teach students character qualities and skills that are essential to success in life, e.g., cooperation, teamwork, standards of excellence, integrity, honesty, respect, communication, and learning how to formulate, organize, and execute plans, strategies, feedback systems, and evaluation.
We also will teach practical English within their vocational areas and offer teacher training, classroom observation that includes feedback on lesson planning, creating conducive learning environments, classroom management, and student discipline. Feedback will be interactive with the teacher with the aim of assisting teachers to develop skills for self-improvement. Teacher training involves discussion on teaching philosophies, discussion on best practices, character formation, teacher-student rapport, lesson planning, teaching methods and techniques and use of technology within the classroom.
We are considering two Student Leadership Development retreats, one in the Fall and the other in the Spring, to select students, to further develop a students’ self-confidence and leadership abilities, using an outdoor education model that incorporates rigorous environments in which students are given leadership tasks (vision, planning, execution) and given responsibility to shape and form teams (role clarification, expectations, assessment).
Planning is only in the initial stages, but we are excited about the prospects and the potential impact it will have on the rural student in Henan — which is why we are here in China.