Much-loved Teacher Spreads Modern English Classes in Rural Area

August 9, 2018
Editor: Wu Shanshan
Much-loved Teacher Spreads Modern English Classes in Rural Area
Du Fen answers students' questions about English after a class. []


An outstanding English teacher who has worked at a remote primary school in Wuhan, capital city of central China's Hubei Province, for over 16 years was selected in June to attend first session of the Rural Young Teachers Training and Award Program.

Du Fen, 34, works in the city's Huangpi District at Qijiawan Boarding School, where she herself originally studied and graduated during her teens.

According to Du, who used to be a student of the school, the considerate care she received from the teachers once brought her warmth. Since then, she decided to return to Qijiawan Boarding School to be a teacher and make contributions to rural education upon graduation.

Game Playing

Du was relatively young among the teachers when she joined the teaching staff at the school at the age of 18.

"She has brought us much enthusiasm and vitality," explained her colleagues, who said they can still hear laughter coming from her classroom every day.

Instead of conventional teaching methods, Du would carry out interesting activities such as playing interactive games and singing English songs so as to mobilize student's study motivation.

This unusual method has developed students' interest in English and helped them obtain excellent scores.

"Without relevant cultural background knowledge, English can be a daunting subject for rural students. If students were to simply learn the words in a textbook, it would be rather boring," Du said.

She searches for large amounts of teaching resources to make her English classes interesting, combining games, culture and history.

In order to absorb cutting-edge teaching methods, Du has also been keen to participate in research and other activities.

To attend seminars in the city center, she has to set off at 5 am, traveling for over two hours to communicate with her peers, and bring back new knowledge and new information for the children. 

"I want to be my student's eyes," Du said. "Their horizons are limited by family conditions. What I can do is to help them see a bigger world as much as possible and inspire their curiosity, which will drive them to work hard and improve themselves continuously."

Psychological Counseling Room

As the largest boarding elementary school in Huangpi, over half of the 600 students at the school are so-called "left-behind" children whose migrant parents have moved away to find better paid jobs in the cities.

The health of student's lives and their mental state is all the more important than mere teaching itself, according to Fu.

As most of the children in the school are unaccompanied by their parents at home, they are unable to share with parents when they are confronted with difficulties and annoyances.

In order to address the problem, Fu set up a psychological counseling room in the school and would often invite students to talk, which gives students an access to voice their  thoughts and feelings.

"The left-behind children are sensitive and delicate, so it is not an easy task to protect them," she explained.

"Ms. Du is as considerate and warm as our sisters," a student said. "We feel safe whenever we think of her."

(Source: Translated and edited by Women of China)