Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Lighthouse question puzzles parents
寒假作業寫墾丁 家長比孩子認真

This photograph taken on Dec. 12, 2009, features Oluanpi Lighthouse at Taiwan’s southernmost point.

(Photo: Wu Yue-hsiu, Liberty Times)


As the new semester kicked off for junior high and elementary schools last Monday, it was time for students to hand in their winter vacation homework. Kenting National Park’s tour guide department received numerous phone calls from students’ parents during the winter vacation. All their questions were on the same subject – the structural chart of the Oluanpi Lighthouse. The park’s tour guides didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as they fielded the questions. They all wondered who on earth had set such a topic for winter vacation homework. Unexpectedly, what was supposed to be homework for the children was handed over to their parents.

Earlier this year, the Kenting National Park distributed a manual on environmental education to elementary schools in Pingtung County. The manual includes information about the park’s marine and terrestrial ecology, as well as interesting picture cards and games to help schoolchildren get a deeper understanding of Kenting and its scenic beauty. Several schools set winter vacation homework based on this manual, in the hope that children would look up information on the Internet, or go to Kenting to find the answers. The unexpected result, however, was that parents ended up doing the work.

The park’s tour guide department said that it had received over 50 phone calls inquiring about the structural chart of the Oluanpi Lighthouse during the winter vacation. Apart from two polite children, all the other calls were made by parents. Some parents complained that the assignment about the park was too difficult, while others moaned that the park was making them do homework. The guides who answered the phone calls didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.


1. kick off v. phr.

開始 (kai1 shi3)

例: Jackie’s parties always kick off with a game or two to break the ice.


2. field v.

應付 (ying4 fu4)

例: While the ministry spokeswoman was busy fielding tough questions from reporters, the minister herself was nowhere to be seen.


3. moan v.

抱怨 (bao4 yuan4)

例: The time you spend moaning about your problems would be better spent trying to solve them.


A senior guide said that the park’s environmental education manual was not hard to understand, and that answers to questions about the structural chart of the Oluanpi Lighthouse could be found in the park’s online virtual library. The guide said he hoped parents would let their children do their own homework and ask their own questions, even over the phone. That is probably the main thing the kids’ schools wanted them to learn, rather than having their parents do their winter vacation homework for them.







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