Pioneers and Leaders in Training
On October 12-14, 2018, around 50 teachers from 20+ schools in Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Gansu and Qinghai and 10 staff/instructors/TAs gathered at the Guangxi Normal University Affiliated Secondary to hold a two-and-a-half-day workshop. The instructors led teachers to address these two questions with 5 core modules:
- What is the understanding in oral history teaching?
- How to help students reach understanding through curricular design?
1) Project reporting and group reflection: After the excellent projects were presented, all project teams discussed the lessons learned and shared their experience. Teams can use what they learned to make the first round of revisions to the curricular design;
2) “Understanding by Design” curricular design: Ms. Huihui Xia, the history teaching researcher from the Department of Teaching and Research, Guangxi Education College, introduced the 6 aspects of understanding, and how to apply the “Understanding by Design” (UbD) methodology in local cultural oral history teaching. This is the second round of revision for curricular design.
3) Secondary school oral history education-ideas and practices: But what is the target understanding in oral history teaching specifically? Dr. Wailing Wong, Director of the School of Social Sciences, the University of Hong Kong, led the trainees to explore this issue through case studies. Through the analysis of a student's Grandpa’s life story, the trainees learned how to drive interview analysis towards the analysis of the context, the connection, and the subjectivity—a specific mapping of the 6 aspects of understanding in the oral history teaching. "The step-by-step analysis of the transcript is like driving off the clouds to reveal the sky, we see the interactions among the times, the region and the individual, whose subjective initiative was so vivid in the context of the times." The trainees also realized the necessity of background research and verification of motives. “Research towards understanding must include accurate and detailed background analysis of events, the analysis of subjective and objective factors, and the recording of what the narrator thought and how s/he felt, instead of guessing." Also background research beyond literature search: "The collection of background information should be extensive: not only web search, but also checking out local authorities, also interviewing information providers, including the elderly, and the narrator’s family members."
4) Oral history products and display - Non-fiction Literary Writing: Presenting their understanding to the public can inspire students to deepen their understanding. Non-fictional literary writing is a popular form of public products. Mr. Yuanjiang Li, Executive Secretary of the Yongyuan Foundation and the designer of former National Secondary School Student History Writing Contest, introduced to the trainees how to assess and conduct non-fiction writing based on oral history. The trainees practiced the storytelling of family history in front of the class, such as the marriage certificate story of her parents during those revolutionary years shared by Teacher Luand her grandfather’s experience in Sino-Vietnamese War shared by Teacher Qin. They began to grasp how the non-fiction literary products convey the understandings “Non-fictional literary writing should be based on historical facts. It uses language structures to bring readers into scenes, creating a sense of presence, and at the same time highly readable as a literary piece.”
5) Guilin Rice Noodle Cultural Center Tour: Through this well-designed tour by the Guilin Rice Noodle project teamthe trainees experienced the charm of ancient rice noodle making and the inheritor who has many stories of rice noodle to tell, learned about a multi-dimensional display form of traditional culture, and witnessed the students’ increased understanding of the traditional culture through their demo and display of various work products.
The workshop’s most profound impact on the trainees can be seen through the key words in their training reports. No matter what their most important takeaway is, e.g. value of oral history or passion of the fellow teachers for the first-timers, or the pedagogy or confidence for the experienced, the teachers now share the common belief, "In the grand scroll of human history and culture across thousands of years, you can contribute a dot." We would like to thank all for their efforts in making this happen, and hope that we can continue to provide a rising channel through projects and trainings for these pioneers and leaders.
Module 1. Group 4 discussing lessons learned
Module 1. Sharing group discussion results
Module 3. Interview Observation led by Dr. Wong
Module 3. Group 2 analyzing Grandpa's Life story
Module 4. Grandpa's story in Sino-Vietnamese War
Module 5. Teachers experiencing milling rice syrup
Module 5. Students narrating their OH story