The Plum Rains have not really arrived in Tainan this year, and the heat is intensifying. Rumour has it that there will soon be water restrictions implemented by the City Government. We are hoping this will not affect the college or high school.
At the high school, we are experimenting with “experiential education”. This is a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities. The goal is not only to produce young adults who are responsible and well-learned, but to produce well-rounded individuals who can function effectively in society after they leave our school.
The principles of experiential education practice are:
• Experiential learning occurs when carefully chosen experiences are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis.
• Experiences are structured to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.
• Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning.
• Learners are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, soulfully and/or physically. This involvement produces a perception that the learning task is authentic.
• The results of the learning are personal and form the basis for future experience and learning.
• Relationships are developed and nurtured: learner to self, learner to others and learner to the world at large.
• The educator and learner may experience success, failure, adventure, risk-taking and uncertainty, because the outcomes of experience cannot totally be predicted.
• Opportunities are nurtured for learners and educators to explore and examine their own values.
• The educator’s primary roles include setting suitable experiences, posing problems, setting boundaries, supporting learners, insuring physical and emotional safety, and facilitating the learning process.
• The educator recognizes and encourages spontaneous opportunities for learning.
• Educators strive to be aware of their biases, judgments and pre-conceptions, and how these influence the learner.
• The design of the learning experience includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes and successes.
The solar panel system has now been completed, installed, and is functional. This will save a great deal of money and it is important to stress the importance of showing our students that we take environmental protection and sustainability seriously.
The academy students who study Japanese with our native Japanese teacher, Koichi, had a fun day last week. He was teaching his students about the various forms of traditional dress from different ages of Japan’s history. To this end, he organized a traditional kimono wearing event. The students all dressed up these colorful dresses.
The kimono’s humble beginnings date back to over one thousand years ago, during the Heian Period. Although it is no longer an everyday choice, this traditional garb is still worn for special occasions, such as weddings, funerals and tea ceremonies.
Clothing similar to the modern-day kimono started being worn during the Japanese Heian Period (794-1185). It was often worn with the Chinese-influenced hakama (a type of long skirt with or without a division to separate the legs, similar to trousers), or a type of apron known as mo. Later, it became fashionable to wear the kimono-style garment without the hakama. This meant the wearer needed a new way to hold the robe closed; and so the obi, the wide sash worn around the waist, was born.
By the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), the kimono had become an everyday clothing choice. Layering came into fashion. It is thought that this is when the traditional Japanese color combinations were born. These colors are usually based on seasons, gender or sometimes on political and family ties. The art of kimono-making grew into a specialized craft during the Edo Period (1603-1868). Some kimono were literal works of art and could cost more than a family home. People would keep their kimono and pass them down to the family.
Since the Edo Period, men’s and women’s kimono fashions have remained pretty much unchanged. Eventually, however, the complexity of kimono-wearing and the cumbersome sandals they required became a hindrance. Kimono fell out of fashion during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), when the government encouraged people to adopt Western clothing styles.
A few Academy students sporting the kimono in Japanese class.
One of the Academy’s students having some fun. You are looking at a boy!