30 Hour Famine: Character Education Comes to Life
Last week, Yew Chung International School of Beijing Secondary students took part in the global 30 Hour Famine project, during which participants fasted for 30 hours in order to raise money for malnourished people around the world.
From Friday morning until Saturday afternoon, students abstained from food while engaging in bonding and team building activities. Through a sense of shared purpose, students motivated each other to make it through the 30 hours fast, as they also reflected on the hardships and challenges of less fortunate people who may never know when their next meal will arrive.
The 30 Hour Famine put YCIS Beijing’s Character Education Programme into action. One of the cornerstones of a Yew Chung education is that success in life is based on more than simply academic achievement; social and emotional development is also a crucial step in a student’s educational journey.
To explain more about the YCIS Beijing Character Education Programme, including its aims and importance for 21st century students, we spoke with Community Development Division Coordinator Casey Fanning and English Teacher Gillian Wong, both of whom are integral in bringing the programme to life.
The Journey to Global Citizenship
The Character Education Programme at YCIS Beijing instils in children the core values that they will need on their journey to becoming globally-minded, caring and responsible individuals. Implemented throughout the curriculum, Character Education is taught through assemblies, student workshops, and subject classes. Character Traits of the Month are also integrated into daily lessons.
Through the Character Education Programme, students also acquire practical skills to help them overcome critical moral, social and cultural changes. Within these engaging situations, students are able to form their own ideas about what it means to apply altruistic values to all aspects of their lives.
Some of the benefits of the Character Education Programme include:
• Developing an appreciation for good character traits such as kindness, diligence, and responsibility
• Encouraging students to consistently demonstrate positive behavior and attitudes
• Giving students the skillset to manage a wider range of interactions and challenges
• Focusing on embracing diversity and respect to truly become global citizens
• Students discover their own passion through self-initiated service projects
• Teaching students how to be leaders in the local and global communities
• Students experience the benefits of giving first-hand voluntary service
Developing Values and Skills Through Service
Additionally, part of the Character Education Programme involves encouraging students to participate in a wide range of charitable and service activities to learn the importance of giving back. The school organizes frequent visits to migrant schools, hospitals, and local community organizations that benefit from student service. As part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) curriculum, Upper Secondary students create their own service projects for the Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) Programme, helping to raise students’ awareness of the needs of both their local and global communities, as well as allowing them to explore their own personal passions and areas of interest.
The 30 Hour Famine is an example of one the many service projects that students undertake as a part of their CAS activities, and which exemplifies the Character Education Programme at YCIS Beijing.