This summer, eight American teachers from Windrush School in El Cerrito, California traveled to RCEF's program site, Xiaochao Primary School. The summer vacation had just begun in China but around 30 local teachers returned to school to dialogue with the American educators about reading and service learning. In China, service learning is a method used in "Integrated Practice Class," a mandatory subject for grades 3-6. RCEF program teachers showed pictures and videos of the service learning projects they led this year. and the Windrush teachers shared their school's service learning philosophy and examples of projects that their students had completed.
Windrush School's educational philosophy and curriculum priorities share similarities with RCEF. We both promote student-centered education and facilitate children to participate in practical activities that develop a diverse range of values and abilities, including empathy, a sense of responsibility, and desire to serve others. Windrush School's goal in service learning is to help students gain knowledge and skills through public service activities that develop their hearts and minds. They foster a deeper understanding of society and the duties of acitizen. This is not only good for students' academics but it also helps to grow civil society.
After the presentations and exchange, the American teachers said they were impressed by RCEF teachers' methods. In particular, they said they wanted to learn from our collective lesson planning and teacher group reflection model. At the same time, we must learn from the sustainability and concrete results of the Windrush service learning approach and its integration with other curriculum subjects. In the future, I hope that we can build up a sister school relationship with Windrush through online learning, exchange, and sharing experiences. This will help us prepare our students for a lifetime of improving their communities.
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