NO.180

“Learning English Together by The Young and The Old” for continuously 13 Years
ReleaseDate: 2012-03-28

Recently, the World Foreign Language Primary School harvested a precious love gift: The school’s ongoing “Learning English by The Young and the Old” voluntary activity in the past 13 years was rated the honor of Shanghai Outstanding Volunteer Collective.

Since the World Foreign Language Primary School set up this voluntary project in 1998, its teachers and students would visit the local Kangjian Neighborhood to voluntarily help senior citizens learn English each week. Up till now a total number of 468 persons times of teachers have participated in this teaching activity, 4680 person times of students have acted as “little teaching assistant”, more than 10000 person times of seniors have freely swam in the vast ocean of English language under their guidance.

“While teaching the seniors, the children also learned the art of respect and communication.” , said Wang Xiaoping, Executive Vice Chairman of the World Foreign Language Primary School, when setting up this voluntary activity.

The first lessen of the class was taught by Vice Schoolmaster Chen Minxian, “when teaching the seniors, I have to slow down the pace, and adjust teaching contents based on their requirements.” She and other teachers soon discovered that teaching the seniors differs greatly from teaching children. Based on the characteristics of old people, the teaching and research team compiled courses by themselves, and arranged review and pre-learning stages in each class to overcome “forgetfulness” of old people, so as to help them continually consolidate the knowledge they learned.

Each week 10 Grade 4 and Grade 5 students of World Foreign Language Primary School followed the teacher to walk into the classrooms, these young volunteers sat beside the senior to act as “training partner”, helped the seniors to practice, and practiced dialogue for them. “Grandpas and grandmas are not familiar with phonetic symbols, we help them mark the pronunciation with Chinese, though the method is ‘unorthodox’, it works!” The students have learned much in the process of one-to-one guiding process.

During the process of contact with the seniors, both the teachers and the students devoted contribution and also harvested growth.

“They are unable to distinguish long tone from short tone, we have to correct them again and again.” Grade 4 girl Yang Weilin felt she herself has become more patient. Grade 5 girl Chen Tianyang and Liu Liu met a grandma with illness in her legs which prevented her from moving about freely, so they visited the bookstore after the class to buy the necessary teaching materials for the elders, and gave her a pleasant surprise before the second class.

Teacher Zhu discovered that many seniors took magnifier to the class, while it turned out that the printed text of the teaching materials was too small in character, since then, a magnifier was placed beside each senior’s teaching material; Teacher Tang each time would offer a variety of self-made prizes: Chinese knots, silk flower as well as small greeting cards, which mobilized grandpas and grandmas to become serious and positive in the classroom. The seniors would prefer to chat with teachers and students after the class, “They were intimate as if they were real family members!”