Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Diplomats tour `eco-campuses,' laud progress

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ci-Xing Waldorf Education School, whose educational philosophy is based on the concepts of Rudolf Steiner, a German educator, is the second school the tour visited. It showed the creativity on the design of their curriculum, which is teaching without any textbooks.

According to Ci-Xing's principal Chang Chun-shu (張純淑), the school is the only government-owned and privately-operated school in Taiwan. The school gives teachers the freedom to present lessons creatively. Without textbooks, students create their own lesson books by drawing and writing down what they learned in classes. In addition, the school does not adopt nor encourage competition by giving tests. Instead, teachers use "individual evaluation charts" to detail each child's achievements.

Jose Miguel Holguin, Prime Secretary of the Dominican Republic's embassy, lauded the philosophy of the school's program.

"The school's education is systematic. By teaching children how to think, instead of what to think, I think students are free to develop their own individualities. I really appreciate their educational philosophy," Holguin said.

Ambassador Francisco Ricardo Santana Berrios of the Republic of El Salvador, also admired the school's effort to provide students with an open learning environment.

"The interaction between teachers and students is impressive. I think through creative classes, such as singing and personal story-sharing, children are given more space to think creatively and freely, Berrios said.

Sandor Matyus, the representative of the Hungarian Trade Office, although appreciating the innovative teaching method, said that the school should pay attention to students' adjustment when they go on to receive higher education.

"I am anxious about the gap between this free-style learning environment and higher education institutions. For example, without a textbook, I fear students may face some reading difficulties when they go to high schools or colleges. This is something the school needs to be careful about," Matyus said.

According to the program designer of the campus reform plans, Su Huey-jen (蘇慧貞), director of Department of Environmental and Occupational Health of National Cheng Kung University, the program has enlarged participating schools' ecological areas from 23.4 percent to 35.8 percent.

Besides, 60.5 percent of city schools began to plant organic products on campus.

Many schools also develop new curriculum to bring out the creativity of students.

She said that since the program has showed some achievements, the next step is to seek collaboration from international community.

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