A world away from Shanghai
American international school students learn in Shaxi
This pioneering group of 8th graders came to learn firsthand about the people and history of Shaxi. Their program leaders chose this beautiful part of China because of its rich cultural heritage, unique Bai and Yi culture, and traditional Chinese pastoral lifestyle.
The learning program was designed to give these students direct access to the lives of local people, in a way that tourists don’t have a chance to experience. We created activies that gave students time with local farmers and middle school-aged kids to ask them meaningful questions about their lives and how modernization is affecting them.
The highly rated program consisted of three topics in three days, all under the theme of Sustainable Development and Culture in Shaxi.
Each day began with a short morning discussion to develop a specific skill that participants would apply in their day’s learning adventures. At the end of the program, students put the three skills together to create a team report that summarized the results of their learning.
DAY 1 TOPIC: Cultural Tourism
50-minute workshop: Interviewing Skills
Goal: talk to local people about their views on tourism and assess positive and negative impacts to come up with the basis of a cultural tourism plan for the Shaxi Valley.
DAY 2 TOPIC: Agriculture & Animal husbandry
50-minute workshop: Critical thinking skills
Goals: to understand the impact of tobacco farming on the environment and weigh against costs/benefits to Shaxi people and Chinese society
to learn about self-sustaining food production in Shaxi.
DAY 3 Topic: Bai Family Culture
60-minute workshop: Presentation skills
Goals: to understand the unique culture of the Bai people and how children grow up in this society