Friday, April 2,
2010, 9:39 PM
Dear friends of SJTC,
Ipoh . Just back from a short
visit to Brother David's Study Centre in Changjiao, a small village in
southern China , some seven hours bus ride from
Hong Kong . Indeed, a very
pleasant, rural site with hills, ponds, a stream passing through the
village sector where David has his Study Centre and scattered houses
(old and new)...all contributing to a very simple, hardworking way of
I really admire the way the Study Centre is set up and the way David has
created a new interest in English through some very intensive,
weekend English lessons for the students through a rigorous,
well-disciplined and systematic approach to the introduction of English
sounds, speech and collective reading that makes use of interactive,
repetitive and chorus participation at Level One. And with David at the
power-point, the class gets into the learning with great enthusiasm. At
the session I attended, there were about eighty enthusiastic students.
Later, he has Levels 2, 3 and 4 at which, though the numbers are fewer,
there is greater emphasis on other aspects of of the
English language. Again, one notices the enthusiasm with
which these students enter into the learning.
I did not get the chance to attend his regular holiday sessions when
with the help of foreign/local help David attends to the language needs
of up to three hundred and fifty students. What is striking is how these
students take to English in a method reminiscent of the traditional
Chinese 'group-chorus' method.
Beyond the classroom, David is very much at ease with the villagers who
regard him as "Teacher" and the people make him feel very much at home.
He has also initiated some community-development programmes especially
in different forms of agriculture, re-construction of houses and now he
has set sights on setting up an incinerator in the village. He is also
concerned with village unity and with encouraging the villagers to be
concerned with helping the less fortunate.
As I have observed, David is truly into the "human and spiritual
education of youth, and increasingly, of adults, especially the poor." I
believe that as Lasallians we should also be similarly inclined and be
more aware of the needs of those who don't seem to fit into the existing
educational system and create meaningful non-formal alternative styles