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Getting a local perspective

First-grade students at the Western International School of Shanghai recently started a class project titled "The Places We Live." Through the project the children learned about the various apartments and houses in Shanghai, including the different architectural styles and different ways of life.

The students were tasked with taking digital photos of the different houses and editing their photos on a computer with the aim of presenting their findings to the class.

Class co-teachers Meryl Siggs and Li Rong worked with the kids to help them learn how to use the various pieces of equipment, including wireless laptops, different types of software and digital cameras. The class encouraged students to ask questions. It employed a structured method for learning about different people and for learning respect and understanding of different cultures. As part of the project the students had the chance to practice their Mandarin, a required course at the school, by talking with the people who lived in the houses and apartments they visited. Local Chinese architecture, especially the Shanghai nongtang style, was particularly popular with the first-graders.

School Director Dr Alfonso Orsini noted: "The project was a great opportunity for the kids to get out of the classroom and learn first-hand about Shanghai, the people and the architecture, and to learn respect for all different ways of living."


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