What studious students you have

What studious students you have

Dan Copes We planned to visit a middle school in Zibo City. We took a short bus ride (June 14) to a site where they were building a new middle school. My initial impression of the place is that it was huge!

I went to a school called Elk Lake in Dimock, and it was a rather small school. The elementary, middle and high school were all contained into one building, and the entire mass of my school wouldn't even comprise half of what this middle school was going to be when completed.

It seemed like it would be an amazing school when it was finished. They said the students would actually dorm there during the week and go home on the weekends. I tried to think back to my middle school days and put myself in that position.

I'm pretty sure my former self would have thought that was a really cool idea and would have been extremely excited to go to middle school! Then again, I'm sure many of the students will get homesick and miss their families. I have no idea how common that idea is in China, but it's sure progressive in my eyes.

We spent maybe a half hour looking around that school, we took a drive around the grounds, and then we were off to the completed middle school we'd be visiting. When we got there it was break time for the students, and many of the teachers came to the gates to meet us.

There were two very official looking guards at the entrance to the school, which was both comforting and unsettling at the same time when you think of what the reasons could be that make those guards necessary.

I was told yesterday that recently men broke into a kindergarten and killed many of the students. I don't know the details on that occurrence; but it's pretty scary, so it's good those guards are there to protect the students.

We walked around the school grounds and saw a few different classrooms and what the students do there. We saw a gym class taking place. It was an extremely hot day outside, but despite the blazing heat the students were all dressed in jumpsuits.

They were doing some exercises to warm up from what I could see. Stretching their knees, wrists, arms, and legs out before they got on with other activities. We kept moving before I could see what else they would do.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

We visited a classroom where students were taught to play the Terracotta Flute, which was the instrument of that school. I was actually able to play one for a moment. The teacher instructed me for a moment and we played the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

It was really fun, and I've been keeping my eye out to buy one of the flutes since we've been there. Afterwards we visited an English class. We were able to talk to many of the students for a while after a bit of their instruction, giving us an opportunity to talk to Chinese students and them an opportunity to practice their English on us.

They were shy but their English was pretty good. After that we visited a conference room, and the headmaster of the school gave us a small presentation. He explained to us his school was an experimental middle school and the nature of their school has led them to a very high success rate.

They placed a high focus on morality and also gave some unique classes such as morality, behavior, and some therapy depending on circumstances of more troubled students. It seemed rather unique but indeed successful. It was interesting to see their school and how it compared to the school I attended.

China's education system seems to me to be a little more intensive than it is in America, although most of the Chinese students seem to think the opposite. I think America needs to step up in the educational world or else we will soon be passed by!

A new day, a new realization.

    — Dan Copes, a junior health sciences major