Rural China Education Foundation

Our mission is to promote education in rural China that empowers students to improve their lives and their communities. We believe rural students should develop skills and confidence from their education that will help them deal with real world problems, deepen their understanding of social issues, and prepare them to improve their environments. Our strategy is to accumulate and share practice-based expertise on curriculum and teaching methods that meets these goals.
Jun 23, 2014

Home Sweet Home - A Camp for Rural Children

Students write down their observations.
Students write down their observations.

Our Rural Education Innovators in China are not only good teachers to village children -- they are also ambassadors for RCEF's style of student-centered, community-based education to others. As part of their work, they document their lessons in writing and photos and share step-by-step accounts of what they did, for others to learn from.

One such case study is about a week-long camp that RCEF teachers led over a school break. It describes how the teachers invited 4th-6th graders to design their own homes, based on an investigation of local housing. The teachers took all the students out of the classroom for a walk through the village. They were required to observe the characteristics of the houses or buildings in the village, and to note down what they had observed on sheets of colored paper. Once back in class, students with the same color paper formed a small group and organized and categorized all of their observations. Afterwards, they brainstormed questions they wanted to know more about, and made a plan to interview local residents. To prepare, they created criteria to decide which questions to include in their interview, assigned roles, and conducted mock interviews to practice their manners. After finishing the interviews, they wrote essays describing the typical village houses, as if they were writing to a friend from far away who had never seen their village. The students did an excellent job writing about this topic as they had firsthand knowledge about it. Finally, the teachers facilitated as students designed houses of their own, both in drawings and in 3-D models. 

The students said they enjoyed the whole process, as it felt like a combination of learning and playing. They gained more confidence in sharing their opinion, became more eager to ask questions, and said they wanted to participate in this kind of learning experience in the future. Throughout, they were encouraged to observe, question, present ideas, and cooperate with others -- all abilities that will prepare them to advance in developing critical thinking and independent learning skills.

Students explored their own community.
Students explored their own community.
Students show off their own blueprints.
Students show off their own blueprints.
A student concentrates on her blueprint.
A student concentrates on her blueprint.
Mar 24, 2014

Spreading Seeds for Innovative Teaching in Rural China

RCEF Teacher Ms. Sun and her fifth-grade students.
RCEF Teacher Ms. Sun and her fifth-grade students.

Last month, RCEF was invited to present our work to the fellows of Teach for China, an organization that recruits college graduates to teach for two years in under-resourced Chinese schools. Teach for China wanted RCEF to share how we work with local village teachers and the kind of innovative teaching that comes out of these partnerships. We showed videos of some of the creative projects RCEF teachers have facillitated with elementary school children. Ms. Huimiao Sun, one of RCEF's longstanding rural teaching partnrs, shared her personal story and the iimpact that RCEF had on her growth as an educator. 

Afterwards, many Fellows came to us to ask more about RCEF teaching methods and experiences working with local teachers and schools in rural China. Many said they were excited and inspired by the real examples of project-based learning and hands-on education that RCEF teachers have proved are possible in rural China. We were thrilled to see so many people passionate about innovative teaching and look forward to further sharing of experiences and practical methods with them! 

Click here to read an article about RCEF, Proof: Kid-Centered, Non-Textbook, Deep Learning is Possible in Rural China, written by Teach for China's head of training.

Links:

Dec 23, 2013

Opening Doors to Village Culture

Rural parents and children gather for story time.
Rural parents and children gather for story time.

Most children in rural China have little chance to leave the school grounds or study subjects outside their textbooks. In response, RCEF Rural Education Innovator Teacher Sun Huimiao is a trailblazer in developing place-based education that helps students to apply their skills and develop their knowledge in the real world. In September, she started teaching students at Nanzheng Elementary School how to make a map of their village. They brainstormed different aspects of the village environment that they were interested in, and eventually settled on studying elements of village home design. After more investigation, they chose to examine the tall, colorful doors that their parents and neighbors select to decorate home entrances. So far, they have done a survey of the different styles of village doors, collected measurements, organized data using spreadsheets, and interviewed a village elder about the history and significance of rural architectural changes. 

On the weekends, Teacher Sun also organizes free Parent-Child Reading Activities in a Community Education Center that she founded in her home village. She partners with two local kindergarten teachers to read stories to children, demonstrating to parents how to read aloud, and the benefits of promoting habits of reading in children. The free weekend activities have been well-attended and Teacher Sun is planning to hold more sessions over this coming winter break when children are out of school and more parents are home from their migrant labor jobs in cities. 

Free weekend reading activity for village children
Free weekend reading activity for village children
Students work together to measure the door.
Students work together to measure the door.
Sixth graders study village architecture.
Sixth graders study village architecture.

Links:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Rural China Education Foundation

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Rural China Education Foundation on GreatNonProfits.org.