Keystone Magazine - Page 57

Q: The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) and high school Diploma Programme (DP) Chinese curriculum content is different from the local Chinese curriculum. Can you explain what these differences are? And will the methods of instruction be different? A: The content used will vary slightly, though the methods of instruction and assessment and learning outcomes will differ significantly. Every teacher will possess a proper understanding and mastery of the content, however, unlike the lecture style that most locally-trained Chinese teachers are familiar with, Keystone’s teachers will function mainly to assist and guide students to explore, think about, cooperate with and reflect on the content that is presented. Our teachers will think about how they can engage students and challenge them to try, to experience and to adjust with the goal of cultivating their passion to learn. There is a Chinese saying, “Learning is like a sea with no boundaries, so one must work in a painfully bitter way to build a boat that gets them to the dock.” We need to readjust our impression of learning from “painfully bitter,” to include fun, no matter how painful it is to achieve this. We will make decisions on what content to use for our Chinese curriculum using both local Chinese and English-learning standards as guidelines. The Chinese curriculum will include some content from the People’s Education Press series, especially the exercises that focus on building a strong foundation in the Chinese language, and content that we think is appropriate to inform students of social trends and consistent with educational objectives of the school. We plan to use a selection of famous Chinese novels instead of short essays or articles, which are part of the local Chinese curriculum, across our middle and high school curriculums, for example. We made this decision because we think that novels provide students with multiple perspectives to consider. If you look at the book Rickshaw Boy, by Lao She, the author uses the main character to describe the process of how he went from an optimistic, healthy, young boy to someone who becomes selfish, deprived and rejected by society. This character’s experience gives students a lot to consider and reflect upon. It is during this process of reflection that students will have a great opportunity to deepen their own understanding of themselves as an individual and a member of society. Along this same vein, let us say that students are asked to study Liang Xiaosheng’s Average Person, Lao She’s Master Zong Yue and Long Yingtai’s Watched. Traditionally, a locally-trained Chinese teacher will have the student look at the Chinese characters, words, sentences, structure, and step-by-step how the author composes the article to conduct analysis on the articles. In contrast, a Keystone-trained teacher will focus on guiding the students to discover the similarities and differences between the three articles, and how these findings relate to their own personal lives, in particular their personal values. And while our teachers are expected to have a strong understanding of the materials taught, this will not translate into them projecting an article’s central idea onto students. Rather, teachers will give more “Our students, from a young age, will begin the process of understanding that they are one part of a larger society…” attention to the imagery of the literature in discussion, its function in society, and what students can learn from the characters in the piece. So, Keystone’s Chinese curriculum will consist of a combination of Chinese literature, history and philosophy. This content will expand each student’s knowledge of these respective areas, and provide a point from which they can explore, question and analyze the culture, wisdom, thought and interesting phenomena that lie behind a Chinese person’s daily life. Students will not only be exposed to these areas within the classroom, but will also have opportunities to visit museums, cultural landmarks, and