Some schools plan a specific day or arrange a specific space for students to explore their interests and potentials. Some schools extend the break and let students decide how to use this time.
More and more schools are exploring “informal spaces” to allow students to explore their interests, including setting specific time periods or topics, and letting students decide what activities to do in order to cultivate fun and creativity from self-directed learning.
Minister of Education (school) Huang Zhiming said in his speech at the appointment ceremony of the new principal last December that innovation is the key to China's sustainable development and success. He encouraged schools to consciously develop their creative potential and free up space for students to free. Explore so that imagination and creativity sprout.
There is no established form of activity. Some teachers let students freely create; some let students play according to the problem, building blocks. In addition to LEGO, senior students gradually come into contact with Tangram and Scrabble. The school encourages teachers to use this time to communicate with students and strengthen the relationship between teachers and students.
Exercise leadership and autonomy
Lin (10 years old) created a Japanese temple style based on the theme of “school holiday” set by the teacher and his memories of traveling with his parents.
When he was interviewed, he said: "I like to shape things that impress me. Freedom and play can make me relax."
From the beginning of three years ago, the Tanjung Katong Girls’ School set a one-hour, 20-minute “student time” every Tuesday morning to allow students to self-study, rehearse for performances, hold seminars, or conduct academic or non-academic activities.
Principal Huang Yimin said that the school had observed that many students spontaneously went to the school in advance and practiced singing or sports together before the flagship ceremony. “We recognize that student-led informal learning spaces have important implications for their leadership and autonomy to gain exercise in a more realistic scenario.”
The free exploration time offered by the Tanjong Katong Girls’ School is not limited to this. Students have two days of rest per week for 50 minutes. They can also be used for their own activities. However, due to the renovation of the school building, there is not enough space for temporary school buildings. The arrangement is currently suspended. In addition, students have a “consultation period” of 150 minutes to 200 minutes every two weeks, mainly for self-study or consulting with teachers.
The public education middle school began in the middle of the previous year and extended the half-hour break every day to 50 minutes. The school decided to extend the rest time and let more than 1,000 students in the four grades rest at the same time. It was because of the parents and students that it was difficult to have a common time for discussion and discussion within half an hour. Later, the school recommended the student council to borrow sports equipment, play basketball, throw frisbee or play table football.
Other schools plan a specific day or arrange a specific space for students to explore their interests and potentials.
Noah Junior College held the first "Unconference Day" on July 5 last year. The teachers and students "opened the art" and launched more than 30 kinds of interest classes in Korean dance, yoga, tea ceremony, film analysis and baking. The principal, Zhang Meixin, also personally instructed the students to arrange flowers.
In addition, Anderson Elementary School set up a small art space last year, which is open for two hours a day for students of different rest periods to be used by parents volunteers. Students can explore a variety of materials and create their own work. This space also offers multimedia facilities such as "electronic graffiti wall" and tablet. In order to ensure that the environment is conducive to learning, only 25 students will come to use at the same time.
Lin Hao, director of the Fine Arts Department, said that this space reveals natural light, a place where children are happy and encourages them to freely use their artistic creativity. Many students come over during breaks and spontaneously observe etiquette, read quietly or with Classmates make handmade together.
Moderately let students plan their own time
If students do not know how to make good use of free time, will they cause them to do nothing? The schools surveyed believe that students should be trusted to moderately “graze the sheep” and let them learn to plan their time and manage their affairs.
For the extension of the break time of the public education middle school, the principal, Su Liling, said that the school should initially "let go" and let the students decide how to use this time. “I think there should be confidence in the students. Most students know how to make good use of time. Once this creates an atmosphere, the rest of the students will follow suit. Students should understand that not everything depends on others to arrange for them, they should learn to do Decision and planning time."
The Catholic High School canteen can only accommodate half of the students in the school. The school initially worried that the rest time would cause long queues in front of the booth, but it turns out that the students will cooperate with each other and stagger the meal time.
Su Liling admits that there are a few senior students who will hide in the library to play mobile phones. Although the school does not encourage it, it does not interfere. She believes that schools should not be eager to determine whether students' choice of activities is a waste of time, and some students may also need to take advantage of this space to rest.
The school advocates for children to learn from meaningful play
For the free time of primary school students, Pan Ruiling, the principal of Weiyuan Primary School, said that the school advocates that children learn from meaningful play. She believes that such exploration space can help develop flexible thinking and exercise problem-solving skills.
“When building a certain shape, you lack the building block you want, how to break through the frame, find another substitute in the limited choice, and achieve the same purpose? Many students know how to change, this is what we want to see. Cultivation of innovative talents It may not be immediate, but once the students' flexible thinking is initiated, they will be able to adapt to the more difficult and creative learning requirements if they are promoted to higher education institutions."
For many students at Tanjong Katong Girls' School, the “student time” on Tuesday is a good opportunity to explore common interests and cooperation with classmates. Huang Wenbiao (15 years old), a fourth-year student who participated in the dance society, will practice dancing with his classmates during this time. “In the process of cooperation and discussion, we often collide with new ideas. We will also hold informal performances at this time, and there are more opportunities to communicate with students of different grades.”
Su Zuan (15 years old), who also attended S4, used this space to help the school record and organize historical artifacts in the storeroom. She said that during the process, she had the opportunity to refer to relevant materials to give her a deeper understanding of the school history.
Some teachers at Tanjong Katong Girls' School also promote learning programs according to their own interests, so that students can choose to participate. For example, the biology teacher Bai Hongzhong (46 years old) observed that students were curious about flowers and insects. Last year and this year, they raised butterfly and urban farming projects, and about 20 students signed up each time.
He said that the space on Tuesday provides flexible space, students have more opportunities to practice and apply what they have learned, and for him, this is also the process of learning together. “For example, in the butterfly breeding area, for the close observation of butterflies, I suggest to attract them with colored plastic devices. But some students have different opinions, so we did experiments and found that using cotton with sticky sugar to attract some kind of Butterfly is especially effective."