From September 23-29, the #3 Middle School Affiliated with East China Normal University (or ECNU #3) welcomed seventeen students and three teachers from Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS) to their campus in Shanghai’s southwestern Jinshan district. ECNU #3 middle school is made up entirely of migrant workers’ children. Migrant families move to Shanghai from more rural parts of China because the job opportunities are better. When they arrive in the big city, though, they encounter many struggles from finding stable work to providing quality health care and education for their children. In Shanghai, there are an estimated 9 million migrant workers out of a total population of 23 million.
The CISS students came to Jinshan to support the migrant students’ education by serving as volunteer English teachers as a part of their school’s annual Interim program. The ECNU #3 students enjoyed a week of learning English in new and exciting ways, using a variety of different subjects, such as Art, Music, Math, Science, and Sports.
The CISS group worked hard, teaching 6 classes of energetic 6th and 7th graders every day from Monday through Thursday, as well as 3 classes on Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, the teams separated into smaller groups and were welcomed to visit the humble home of four of the ECNU#3 students.
At the end of the week, the group from CISS realized that they had learned more than they had taught. Neil Whitehead, a math teacher at CISS and one of the adult leaders for the trip, said this about the experience:
“I felt that the English teaching trip produced a big change in our students…as they became more confident leaders, public speakers and teachers. I think that the English trips bring about a bigger change in our students than any of the other trips that I have lead.”