A teacher in Beijing
Creative projects in a Chinese public school
Since February 2018, I teach Art and Design in a Chinese public school; the High school affiliated to Beijing International Studies University. I started teaching the discipline in English for five months until I began working for the Sino-French bilingual program, which offers lessons of French as a foreign language (FLE) as well as arts, sciences and sport to a selected group of students. After few months of trial and error experimentation, I started applying a pedagogy of project-based learning through which students can explore a subject by producing creative results to the challenges exposed at each step. Through these projects, they are able to learn French differently, putting into practice their knowledge in an art context.
Students learn to describe art works, their own results, those of their pairs; they learn to follow project instructions and explain how projects have been done; as well as they express feelings and opinions in a classroom converted in a workshop. As such, these language skills are added to the fundamentals that constitute the discipline, being the creative process and the plastic result of each engaging project, thus highlighting the committed posture of each student in his work throughout his artistic adventure. Meanwhile, the teacher may be seen as "the guide on the side" to his students rather than "the sage on the stage". He becomes a facilitator, a motivator and a content expert; even an instructional designer or a project manager; his job is to design and plan projects in which students may think critically, solve problems, collaborate and manage their own time while working. Methods are explained in the document below and then are shown pictures of the many creative works done by students of four different grades.