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“Little Hwamei” LIFE Literacy Project for Miao Primary School Students in Guizhou Province

area Basic Education
Organization 21th Century Education Institute Primary and Secondary Education Research Center
Year 2015
Region Guizhou
URL http://www.21cedu.cn

“Little Hwamei” LIFE Literacy Project for Miao Primary School Students in Guizhou Province is conducted by 21th Century Education Institute Primary and Secondary Education Research Center for low-grade elementary students and teachers living in Miao ethnic enclaves to improve their literacy teaching quality.

According to relevant survey conducted by Qiannan Prefecture Education Bureau and The Study of Miao Minority Association, school results of elementary students in Miao ethnic enclaves cannot meet the graduation standards. For example, as proved by 2011 unified graduation testing for elementary students in Xianqiao Village, Fuquan City of Qiannan Prefecture, the passing percentage only reached 23.3%. In September 2014, project staffs conducted an investigation into the student’s literacy level in the rural school located at Taijiang County of Qiandongnan Prefecture, and results revealed that, the average amount of recognized characters of the local first-year primary students was below 50 before they attended the school, and that of the local second-year primary students less than 300, which is much lower than average. Also, students are not interested in recognizing characters with negative attitude towards learning. The worse of the situation is that they are not confident, and do not show any enthusiasm in attending the class. Possible reasons may include: local students mainly communicate with each other by using Miao Language; more than 70% children stay at home, and live with their grandparents, lacking favorable environment to learn Chinese; teachers are relatively older, and not sufficient in number; most teachers are still applying out-of-date teaching methods (for example, pinyin teaching method is applied, and students must focus on Miao Language, pinyin and Chinese characters at the same time), which may largely compromise the teaching effect; the teaching materials are positioned to students of the Han nationality, and the contents are largely different from the local living environment. Because the first- and second-year students cannot recognize enough characters, their reading ability will also be compromised, resulting in tremendous difficulty in learning various disciplines. Meanwhile, the student’s mental development is not so smooth neither, and their negative feelings about learning and school are intensified. Consequently, students will fail to go up to the next grade and even drop out of school. Some students above 10 years old are still studying at grade 3, and most students will drop out, and begin to work in the city at 14 or 15 years old. Therefore, improving the literacy teaching quality for first- and second-year elementary students will play an important role in advancing the overall education level at this region.

This project is aiming at helping the rural Chinese teachers working in rural Miao primary schools at Taijiang County of Qiandongnan Prefecture improve their literacy teaching ideas, enhance their ability in teaching Chinese characters, master the basic capacity in conducting literacy teaching research, and explore suitable teacher supporting system and literacy teaching materials in line with the actual situation by putting forward relevant questions for discussion, organizing relevant training and making full use of mentor’s guidance, etc. so as to overcome the weakness of rural children (living in ethnic enclaves at Taijiang County) in learning Chinese characters, stimulate the student’s interest in learning characters, increase the amount of recognized characters, further promote the student’s reading ability and academic achievement, cultivate the student’s awareness of Miao cultural identity, reduce the drop-out rate and perfect the education in minority areas.

Our supports given to this project include funding, teacher training, teaching and researching activities, project research, literacy teaching material development and preparation, Chinese teaching research, project promotion, project staffs and management fees, etc.