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Creative Writing in Chengdu, China

Posted on : 13-05-2017 | By : Cindy | In : Event buzz, Spices, The Pounamu Prophecy, Travelling, Writing

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‘It’s not the child I need to interview, it’s the parents.’ The principal of Beanstalk International Bilingual School in Chengdu had just finished talking to the parents of a prospective student and was now showing me around the campus of the newly opened school, complete with state of the art four hundred metre running track, brand new fifty metre pool, spacious grounds and beautiful classrooms opening into a central garden.

The school follows the International Baccalaureate curriculum which is vastly different to the teaching style of the local Chinese schools. The parents he had just spoken to, wealthy business people, wanted their child to move from the rote learning style of the local school to the more creative teaching style that BIBS offers. Unique to this international school is that it does not require the student to have an international passport and so the majority of students here are local, wealthy Chinese.

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The students were a delight to work with and eager to try out the creative writing exercises I set them. Some of the younger ones struggled to compose a story in English but I could only admire their eagerness to try writing creatively in a foreign language. It was better than I could do!!

With the older group of 14-15 year old boys we discussed historical fiction and the stories they wrote were amazing. I caught the beauty of the Chinese language spilling over into their English stories – poetic, evocative, and with some of the boys, very witty.

So often during this trip to China I heard people lament that the rote learning style produced incredible results for fact learning subjects but it stifled creativity. In this school I saw creativity unleashed, enabling these Chinese students to re-discover the beauty and imagination of this ancient language and culture.

Thank-you to Hugo for inviting me to his school, to Michael the librarian who coordinated everything and all the teachers who introduced me to the delights of the spicy, mouth numbing Sichuan peppercorns and hotpot.

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Comments (3)

Cindy – It was a pleasure to have you visit our school. The children were very engaged in their creative writing with you. To any other schools – I would highly recommend Cindy visit. She enabled amazing results from the students, and it was a visit that the students still talk about 3 weeks later!
Please come back again when you are in China!!

Hi Cindy – what a wonderful experience. I love that you caught the beauty of the Chinese language in their stories. It reminded me a little of the Aramaic echoes in NT Greek. Thanks for sharing your experience.

That must have been an amazing experience, Cindy. It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to go to a school where most of the learning is rote. I’m so glad you were able to help unleash some of that creativity :) One of my nieces and her husband teach in an international school in China. Certainly a wealth of experiences. Thanks for sharing.

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