White sheets, ghoulish masks, superhero outfits, and creative makeup all adorning jubilant kids, excited to be collecting sugary treats going door-to-door. This annual evening spectacle occurs every October 31st in the United States, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, and England. It is also celebrated in some fashion in various other countries around the world. Other associated activities are pumpkin-carving and costume parties.
Last week, the students of CTBC International Academy donned makeup and costumes to take part in the American-style tradition of trick-or-treating. Five stations manned by teachers and staff were set up, and the foreign teachers led the students to the locations to collect chocolate and candies. Although the CIA students are older than the usual participants, for most, it was their first time celebrating Halloween in any way at all. The day is not celebrated in most of Taiwan, save for a few private elementary schools, so the students had the opportunity for a novel experience while they are still teenagers.
Halloween began as All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints’ Day, a feast for all martyrs and saints. The idea behind the costumes was to scare away ghosts and spirits because the Celts thought at the end of summer apparitions were able to enter our world more easily.
It is now the ninth week of this term. At most schools, students would have completed midterm exams or would be in the middle of writing them. At CTBC International Academy, students are not burdened with the great number of exams that make life a nightmare for many Taiwanese teenagers. Some CIA classes have exams as assessments, but many do not. A variety of methods are used for demonstrating knowledge and understanding during the term such as essays, chapter tests, presentations, and others. As a result, the pupils at CIA are more relaxed and not as exhausted from staying awake late studying.
There are students who excel at the traditional paper and pen exam and indeed prefer it, but the fact is that for many others it is not an accurate way to test learning. Some students suffer test anxiety, meaning that they are unable to do their best work on an exam because their recall does not function properly when they get very nervous. Other teens are better able to demonstrate learning by giving a presentation or writing an essay. The point is that having a variety of assessment techniques is fairer for a greater portion of the student population.
CIA students ready for the Halloween activity
CIA students treat-or-treating