How is a Chinese diplomat helping teachers in China?
On the 24th and 25th of March, Fudan International School was delighted to welcome Juan Castellanos the senior program associate from Facing History and Ourselves. This is an organization based in the U.S. that works with partner schools and teachers internationally. They aim to improve teaching and learning through collaborative and discursive pedagogy’s. Facing History teaches difficult histories to support students with creating a more peaceful future.
The workshop was co facilitated by Mr Rajesh Kripalani, who is the ToK coordinator and IB history teacher here at Fudan International school. He is also the program liaison for Facing History in China.
Our workshop centered around teaching the history of the Holocaust through Literature. Teachers were put in the position of students for the weekend as they experienced examining poems, Literature and informational texts through different literacy strategies.
Wanshun Xie - a participant who travelled from Jiangxi province to take part in the workshop said ‘I think the most fascinating thing about the workshop is the concept of connection. Everything is connected, the past, the present, history and reality, individuals and communities, your choices, and other people choices. If we can teach students how to see these connections they may be able to make better lives for themselves, and a better world in the future.’ Zero also wrote a paper about the impact of these ideas of his teaching based on the last workshop of FHAO last year.
Jocelyn Ford was excited about planning classes to include aspect of her learning in the workshop: "I'm planning to use the "silent conversation" technique in my next class for high school seniors on how to be alert to sensitivities of people from other cultures. I'll be using posters with various images, including a Xinhua news report of a Chinese student representing South Africa at a model United Nations. Few PRC students are familiar with the history of racial inequality in the U.S. and the image provokes thoughtful conversation on how to understand what people from different backgrounds might find offensive. It's a great way to be inclusive, and inspire deep thinking on difficult subject’s.”
Big Paper activity: Text to text, Text to World, Text to Self.
The Chinese Diplomat
One particularly interesting topic that was covered was learning about the way that Shanghai was affected by the Holocaust, and learning about the ‘Chinese Schindler’ whose name was Ho Feng Shan. Ho Feng saved thousands of people from being killed in the Holocaust and no one knew about it until only very recently – he kept his kindness a secret until he died.
He was the Chinese Diplomat in Vienna at the time of the Holocaust, and he wrote visas for Jewish people that allowed them to travel to Shanghai and survive. Some Chinese teachers discussed that this may have been because of HO’s belief in Confusism – "In success, tries to let as many as others benefited."
The Chinese Diplomat Ho Feng Shan(何凤山)
Here are the words that teachers used to describe him – it was very inspiring!
Fudan International School would like to thank Rajesh and Juan for their contribution to the professional development of all the participants and facilitating such interesting discussions.
Mr. Rajesh Kripalani & Mr. Juan Castellanos
Participants enjoyed the workshop and were presented with a certificate by Mr Juan.
Written by Laura Madsen,
Photos by Natalya Likhacheva