Dream makers: ECNU volunteers teach in rural areas


On July 15, a group of ECNUers from the Meng Xiancheng College arrived in Xundian, a remote county in Yunan province, where they volunteered to teach in the nine-year Diansha school.


During the 15 days, they designed all kinds of interesting courses, such as English, painting, handicrafts, sports, and scientific experiments. They also created curriculums based on local students’ needs. The classrooms were always filled with laughter and joy.

One of the volunteers, Zhang Linqing, shared her classroom experience. “The first class went smoothly, but I did not handle the time well enough. From the students’ feedback, I also knew the shortcomings in my curriculum design. There is always a gap between the theory and practice of teaching. No lesson is perfect, and it always needs polishing and improvement.”

Another volunteer, Li Zhiming, was moved by the devotion of the local teachers. “Many teachers live on campus and stay with children 24 hours a day. They often give up their free time helping students with their problems and questions. This tells me what it is like to be a teacher in rural areas.”

One of the volunteers, Wang Liting, said “The children here are sincere, kind and steadfast. In fact, I’ve learned a lot by teaching them about teaching methods and attitudes toward life.” One child wrote in a thank-you letter: “We like the teachers from Shanghai very much. We hope they can stay longer. Please remember us and call us.”

To increase their income, many local people in Xundian have to work in big cities while their children stay behind in the rural areas with their grandparents. These so-called “left-behind children” have suffered from some psychological or physical illnesses. The ECNU volunteers also visited with some of the students’ families and carried out relevant educational research.

ECNUers visit local students' families.

“Students from ECNU broaden the minds of children here and bring in new perspectives and fresh ideas for the staff as well,” said He Shaolong, a local Math teacher. Cheng Yichuan, leader of this program, said that it was a great opportunity for the volunteer students to develop teaching skills, carry out rural education studies, and help Xundian in its effort to eradicate poverty through education.

In the past five years, ECNU has launched more than220rural teaching programs in more than20provinces or autonomous regions around the country. Over2,400ECNUers have given lessons or sent teaching materials to help thousands of students living in China’s rural areas. With their efforts, the students have developed a range of academic and life skills, which will help them make better choices for the future.

Source: Meng Xiancheng College, Nine-year Diansha School

Author: Xu Xincheng 

Video: Sun Feng

Copy editor: Joshua Mayfield

Editor: Siyuan Zhang


East China Normal University