Home NZCFS Project Updates Shandan Bailie School News March 2015 – ...

March 2015 – New School Term at Shandan Bailie School

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Dave Bromwich lecturing at Shandan Baillie School, March 2015
Dave Bromwich (NZCFS National President) lecturing at Shandan Bailie School, March 2015

The new semester for Shandan Bailie School started on Monday, 1 March, 2015, after a seven week break for Spring Festival and Chinese New Year.   Students appeared at school on the Sunday afternoon, then began collecting their new textbooks. I went to find my teaching schedule, but it was still being calculated – admin is not done in advance in China! 

But next morning, 8am Monday, I taught my first class.

I teach oral English, and design my own curriculum – the students have studied English for some years, but only rarely have spoken more than a few words. I use any and every technique to inspire them: to give them practice and confidence in talking.  Most classes have around 40 students, and almost all are girls.  This imbalance is based on future career paths – many of these girls aspire to roles as Primary school teachers, whereas many of the boys are studying more technical subjects, where English is not as important.

For the first two weeks the school was only half full, with senior students away completing work experience in factories, and the new younger students had yet to arrive from various Middle Schools.

Lianne Dalziel (Mayor of Christchurch) and others from Canterbury receive flowers at Shandan Bailie School, March 2015
Lianne Dalziel (Mayor of Christchurch) and others from Canterbury receive flowers at Shandan Bailie School, March 2015

The school has been honoured by a number of New Zealand visitors this month.  SBS enjoys the ongoing links they share with NZ, it gives them the prestige and point of difference which assists in showcasing the technical training they offer, which makes SBS different from the other local secondary schools.

First was NZCFS President Dave Bromwich. We had meetings with the school admin about ongoing projects, and then Dave taught one of my classes.  The students were delighted, he spoke to them in Chinese, and told stories of Rewi Alley and the history of Shandan Bailie – tales they may have studied before, but Dave was able to bring the tales to life and personalise them so much more. 

The following week two delegations visited – the ‘Mayor’s Delegation from Christchurch’ and the ‘Citizens’ Goodwill Tour to China’. These groups comprised a number of people associated with SBS, some of whom visited here more than a decade earlier.  

Delegates included Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch; Kelvin Coe, Mayor of Selwyn District; NZCFS representatives: Chris Goodwin and William McQiu of NZCFS Christchurch, and Bernard Duncan, Chairman – Christchurch China Sister City Committee.
I was assigned to the role of showing them the school and Rewi Alley’s replica home, with its collection of historic photographs.   We also toured the site of the NZ village suburb being built in Shandan.

The two delegation buses were accompanied by a third busload full of Shandan, Zhangye and Gansu government officials, the local TV station people, Tourism Officials and other photographers. This highlights the high esteem with which Mayoral tours are regarded, and the potential for exchanges in trade, tourism and teaching.