Young learners shine despite the pandemic
Just before the world literally shut down due to Covid-19, the Suzhou Education Association for International Exchange led the initiative, “Young Emmissary, Online Diplomacy”, designed to pair students from Suzhou’s local primary and secondary schools with those from international schools in explorations of global issues.
A total of 148 different projects came out of this initiative, of which our very own Megha Nair and Ela Lemut, then in Years 9 and 10, respectively, were a part. They paired with Xu Junjie and Zhang LeSong from the Suzhou Jingfan Middle School to create a video on the theme of climate change. Their work was recently awarded Best Video in the Junior High School category.
Their product draws on rich data case studies that not only looks at the causes for climate change, but also its impact on several aspects of the world we inhabit today. They adopted an inquiry-driven approach to investigate and present their findings in a slick production that the judges deemed to be of highly commendable standards, leading audiences to thoughtful questions around the theme.
The timing of the project could not have been more in opportune. Pandemic-induced restrictions put a damper on face-to-face meetings. But this did not pose an insurmountable challenge for these digital narratives. These four young learners weaved in and out of video conferencing and chats on online messaging platforms, as and when the technology either held true or failed them, to plan, allocate roles, conduct research and put it all together into a final product.
We must appreciate that language posed a challenge as well. Fortunately, both Junjie and Lesong have an adequate working knowledge of English, as do Megha and Ela of Chinese. This led to each pair working together to help each other out with nuances and tones – a highlight of their collaborative experience.
As with most projects, last minute hiccups raised daunting issues, such as a key part of the product having been overlooked, or their video editing software going awry. A few midnight candles were burned in the process of fixing these issues before each of them could throw their hands in the air and exclaim, “Done!”
That they won the Best Video Award in the Junior High category is not the big takeaway for these young learners. What shines through is their journey, their struggle, their stepping out of comfort zones and getting the job done, and done right.
At EtonHouse International School Suzhou, we are equally proud of Junjie and LeSong as we are of Megha and Ela. These young learners did indeed shine!