Teddy and Ben are our full-time computer teachers for the program Stepping Up. Stepping Up is our computer teaching program that teaches computer and life skills to middle school students in Jiaxing.
Why teach Computer skills?
We can hardly live without the internet these days. Computer skills are important for everyone. We do not believe that by simply bringing computers and internet into migrant schools we will magically help each child to be successful. But we do believe that with the right balance of fun and challenge, mentoring, encouragement and discipline – as well as a carefully planned curriculum and properly trained teachers, we can begin to help the children develop many of the digital literacy skills they are currently missing to be better prepared for the future.
On a Wednesday afternoon, I went to our site in Jiaxing to see what classes are like and to learn more about this program. Upon arrival, the students were hyped to see their beloved teachers Teddy and Ben arriving at the school. The two teachers were surrounded by students who were jumping around and asking all different questions. After a short break, Teddy started the class by revising one classic Chinese poem. Huh? You might ask. Teddy combines different elements such as critical thinking and Chinese literature into teaching digital literacy, to help students use technology as a tool of achieving their goals in the modern world.
Have you figured out what the learning objective was about? The goal of the day was to successfully type this particular Chinese poem into the computer. After learning the literature, students were guided to the computer room where they started a typing game. The atmosphere was dynamic with students fully focused and raising hands here and there for teachers’ instructions. Later, after receiving specific guidelines from Teddy, the students calmed down and concentrated on how to type the poetry.
Besides Ben and Teddy, there were also two volunteers helping. They are both students from Tongji University who study close by and are members of the volunteer association of their faculty. I was curious about the young volunteers and immediately asked, “Why did you guys come to help?” One of them looked at me, thought for a few seconds, became quite serious and said ” Serving others rather than serving yourself is a transcendent experience…”
It surprised me for a while, until I was brought back to the lively classroom.
Do you believe in helping others? We do. If you like this article, please have a look on our website to see what we do.