Taiwan University Student Teachers Visit The River School, Australia

By Kamala Alister
Gift for the school: Ananda Marga River School in Chinese calligraphy
“I’ll never forget the laughter, friendship and happiness…”:
Taiwan University student visiting the AM River School

In mid-July, eight student teachers from the Teacher Education Centre of Fu Jen University visited the Ananda Marga River School with their professor and Education Department head, Diinesh Teng Huang and another staff member. They stayed for one week, rotating through the primary school classes to learn about Neohumanist Education. They also had classes with the Principal and other staff to assist their learning. Their stay was part of a one month tour which included sight-seeing and visiting Steiner and Montessori schools and was supported by a grant from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education. Professor Diinesh’s 11 year old daughter traveled with the group, and she loved attending year 5 at the River School.

Learning Chinese calligraphy with lovely brushes and paper brought from Taiwan

From the beginning, the River School staff were impressed with the friendliness and openness of these lovely student teachers, and they seemed to enjoy the school very much. A highlight for the school was when the student teachers put on an impressive performance of Chinese Yo-Yo with music and then performed an energetic play sharing information about the country of Taiwan. Afterwards they delivered three beautifully organised workshops which the River School students attended by rotation. River School students learned and experienced Chinese calligraphy, lantern making and traditional rice-flour dumplings — and had a wonderful time.

At the end, the school held a special farewell program for the group, singing kiirtan and songs and presenting a gift bag to each student teacher. It was a tearful moment for some students from both sides.

Here are a few of their comments.

“Students here are like angels. They are friendly to each other and always full of energy. Teachers always work hard on teaching. It’s what a school should be!” (Beatrice, Gan, Li-Yun)
“All of my impression of the River School is “love.” It is hard to express my feelings, but I’ll never forget the laughter, friendship and happiness.” (Sandy. Sun, Zih-Yun)
“We had an unforgettable experience. We saw that the connection between teacher and student is so close and also between student and student. They are so energetic and have a great ability of imagination. They love to study.” (Erin, Hsu, Yue)
“I didn’t know that teaching can be so creative and motivated until I saw what the teachers here do for their students…. I”m just one of the family here. I want to take the things that I felt here back to Taiwan and hope to make a change in the education of Taiwan.” (Ivania)
“River school is a place full of love and warmth. I won’t forget these days.” (Ryan, Feng, Wei-Lun)
“In Taiwan, because of the traditional culture and competition, schooling provides little space for student development and focuses too much on logical thinking and academics. So our Taiwanese student teachers felt so incredible to see the relationship between teachers and students. Such experiences made them reflect on the limitations of Taiwanese education and created a strong feeling and desire to change and improved Taiwanese education.” (Diinesh Teng Huang)
Chinese yoyo presentation