1. Description of Our Community
Erlin Township is located in the southwestern part of Changhua County. The area is flat and most of the locals are farmers. Grapes, Chinese leeks, red Job’s tears, and buckwheat are some of the well-known agricultural products in this area. Wan He Elementary School is located in Wan He, a small village in Erlin. There are many traditional houses in our community. People lead a very simple lifestyle here. One problem we are facing is that the population here is decreasing dramatically. Young people tend to relocate for job opportunities. Most of our students live with their grandparents. Over the past few years, we have less than ten first graders entering our school every year. The number of our students has dropped to 46 this year.
2. Summary of Our Project
The subject of our 2015 Cyberfair project is Teacher Jun-Qi Su: a unique, stylistic, and charitable music teacher who also leads numerous bands. Notable ones include a university band, a band from Changhua Prison, and many others at different schools. Other than merely interviewing Teacher Su, for 30 hours we have also interviewed up to 15 people who have worked with him to build a more comprehensive profile. Our goals for this project go beyond exploring Teacher Su’s dreams and extend to sowing the seeds of hope in the minds of students. Careful cultivation of these seeds will promote the growth of young people who grow up to give back to the society that has nurtured them.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:4-6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:1
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
First, it was difficult to choose whether we should focus on Teacher Su's music or Teacher Su's personal history. Both would have yielded rich stories, but we decided to go with the latter one because it seemed more fascinating. Second, Erhlin Township is very remote without public transportation, so students rarely have chances to engage with people from outside; this research project is one effort to overcome this advantage to expose students to different people with different life stories. Third, our subject Teacher Su is very busy and is seldom available, so we had to turn to his friends and colleagues for his anecdotes. Fourth, only five of our students have internet access, so this leaves only the students' spare time during school days for research. Lastly, the lack of time available was problematic, students were very busy with classes and homework; so we had to use lunch breaks and some of their free time to conduct interviews.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
“I hope that the music of life goes on even when my fingers leave the piano.” is quite fitting for Teacher Su’s teaching philosophy. Teacher Su had a tough early life because his mother died of cancer after giving birth to his brother; and he had lost his motivations to find his purpose in life. Fortunately, he started learning music and found his new self. Although Teacher Su graduated with an animal husbandry degree, his countless hours of practice and his persistence rewarded him many achievements in musical competitions. Even though Teacher Su looks tough on the outside, he actually has a sensitive and a charitable personality. Even after he had become successful, he decided to go to rural areas to teach kids like his older self in order to guide them on the right path in life; to make sure that the music of life can live on forever.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
The activities and research for the 2015 Cyberfair project supports standards, required coursework and curriculum standards through its design, implementation and activities. First, it adheres closely to the core values and goals as stated for Grade 1 through grade 9 curriculums. Second, the research integrates nicely with the subjects of language, writing, information technology and the arts. Many integrative activities cross course boundaries. Third, we, at Wan He Elementary, believe the best character education is in real-life models like this. Our activities, under this year’s project, seek to promote good character traits. Students interviewed Teacher Su’s colleagues from his bands and from the schools that he teaches at to gain a better understanding of the good that he does. They also participated in the following activities in this endeavor:
1. They sought community support by asking people to add their signatures to student prepared cards. 2. They held a sale to raise money for Teacher Su’s cause.
3. They prepared a presentation to share the results of the project and their thoughts about Teacher Su.
4. They asked every student at school to write positive thoughts on a card, which they placed on a tree named Teacher Su’s Tree. To sum up, this project is an exercise in character education. Students exposed to role models like this have the seeds for positive societal impact and community involvement sown early. These seeds will develop and produce productive adults in the greater Taiwanese community.