BWYA’s Classrooms Without Walls programme recognizes that some of the best learning takes place when students get away from the classroom and out into the real world. And for Trip Week 2017, which took place last month, every student had the chance to do just that.
“It is all about the experience,” explains Principal Robert Wang. “Regular field trips for subjects like geography and biology, like our Group 4 Project, allow students to apply their newly acquired skills to solving real-world problems, but Classroom Without Walls, and Trip Week, in particular, gives them the chance to immerse themselves in cultures that are different to their own and gain an understanding of how other people live their lives. It also helps them try out new things, presents new challenges, give back to the community, and helps them to learn a little bit about themselves as well.”
These experiences can take place all over China and beyond. BWYA’s Primary School students had adventures all over Beijing this year, including spending time on a farm, climbing, abseiling and raft building in the countryside, and hiking along the Great Wall, spending a few nights away from home as well. Older students visited locations all over China, including Xi’an, Pingyao, Kunming, and Yangshuo, as well as overseas destinations like Thailand, Singapore, and Japan.
Grade 8 Students, Tina Han and Cherry Yan, both took part in the week-long trip to Pingyao. Both of them really enjoyed the chance to spend time in a traditional Chinese village, as well as getting to know their fellow students a bit better. “The architecture in Pingyao Old Town is amazing,” Said Tina. “You don’t get to see, or stay, in traditional Chinese buildings and streets like that when you live in the big city. I really hope to go back there soon with my sketchbook!” “All the students on the trip really built a sense of fellowship,” added Cherry, “something I really enjoyed about the trip. One day, Tina saw a CD she really wanted so a group of us got together to pool our money and we bought it for her as a surprise. The next day my friends had done the same thing for me.”
Joe Zhou was part of the Grade 9 trip to Yunnan Province. He said that spending time with local families and making new friends was the highlight of the trip. “I feel like I have a new second home now,” adds Joe. “On the last day of the trip, we had an activity called Mission Impossible. We had to follow a series of clues around the village we were staying in and the local families would give us tasks and challenges we had to complete before giving us the next clue. There were prizes for the best teams and it was an amazing day. I think the students and the local families really got attached to each other.”
It is this bonding with the local communities that often sticks in the memory for students, long after they return home to Beijing.
Grace Yang, a Grade 11 student who took part in the trip to Thailand said, “Community and service was the main part of our trip it was great to be an active part of the communities we visited, helping to paint and build facilities, grow crops, and spend time with people who have a very different lifestyle to our own. And learn a bit more about their culture. Activities like Kayaking down the river were lots of fun, but so was the time spent helping people and getting involved.”
BWYA teacher, John Mariampillai, offers a staff perspective. He said; “For the trip to Singapore, our students had to immerse themselves in a country which was both familiar yet foreign to them. Understanding the country’s political, social and economic structures made the students reflect on their own country. They also developed many useful skills while involved in team building exercises like navigating through the city for the civic district scavenger hunt. They also explored a couple of educational and religious institutions learning about their contribution to the development of Singapore. It was a remarkable experience the students will never forget.”
From visiting new places, trying new foods and meeting new people, to planting crops for the first time, helping to paint a house, or overcoming fears to climb a cliff, the Classroom Without Walls provides a new set challenges, experiences, and memories for students to help students develop as locally grounded and globally aware citizens.
This post is provided by BWYA.