Updated 7 months 4 weeks ago
For 28 days 6 students go out to southern Yunnan to a small village called Xizhou. This trip is to experience what being out of the Shanghai bubble is like and what the world around us is. While we are here we needed to choose a topic of high interest to work on in Xizhou. The topic I chose is Parents Expectations
Phase 0 is the stage where we chose our topics, Originally I wanted to do children's dreams and aspirations. However while my time here in Xizhou I decided to change it to parents Expectations. I realized that my research was not going in the correct direction and decided to change it
Phase 1 is where we came up with 10 big questions on our inquiry project in order to drive our research forward. In Phase 1 I decided not use any of my questions partly because I changed my topic along the way and because many of the questions were too specific for the locals to understand and answer. That is why I asked more broad questions so that I can follow up on them.
Phase 2 I where we gathered resources and outside experts. I emailed an author that was able to email me back and gave me great feedback on my work. We also had our 3-5 conversations with the teachers and were able to get great local contacts.
My local contacts here were amazing, they gave me great elaborations and information. I had 15 contacts and a majority of them were middle aged. Their children ranged from 6-14 in age and all of them remember their own parent's expectations. Mrs. Zhao, The owner of a restaurant has a son and gave me amazing information. She also gave me insight on what the future looks like ahead and what the path looks like. Mr. Yang, An antique dealer who has a son who is 14, Gave me great information what it was like during the cultural revolution and what the past was like. Mr. Du, An elder in the community spoke very wise words about the past and how the next few generations will be like.
Through my questions, I hoped to gather a lot of information through follow-up questions. Since I only asked around 3 main questions, I got great answers because they were so broad that I needed to ask to follow up questions according to the information they currently gave me. This turned out to be extremely effective and was able to get really great information from my follow up questions.
In order to understand changes in parental expectations of local Xizhou children over time, one must consider expectations of the previous generation of children, expectations of the current generation of children, and possible expectations of future generations of children.
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My experience with my inquiry project was amazing. Because my project was relevant to everybody and all ages, I was able to talk to a variety of people. I talked to the elderly to get a better understanding of what it was like back then. I talked to adults because I needed to now their parent's expectations and their children's expectations. I also, briefly, talked to children about their own dreams and what they want in life.
Before I came on this trip I chose dreams and aspirations for my inquiry project, However, I realized many children simply did not want to talk to me and were not comfortable. Finally being able to talk to the parents of the children was an eye opener. They gave me wonderful information to base off of and was able to change my inquiry project to parental expectations.
The most difficult part of my research was when I would ask many adults and elders what it was like back then, How is it different and why is it different. Many times they would not give a sufficient answer or simply not answer at all. I think it was possibly a difficult time for them especially during the cultural revolution and they were quite sensitive.
I think an "a-ha" moment was definitely when I chose my other inquiry project. I looked at my research from about 5 days and realized, parents expectations are going to be my next project. I am glad that happened because I ended up learning so much more than I ever could. It was a very important moment for me to realize that my previous project was not working, I was able to move on and to dive into a project much more interesting to myself.
This project definitely helped me understand my topic because before hand, I thought expectations of Chinese parents were extremely strict, all about studying and only about education. "Tiger moms" was the phrase I always heard and to find out there is a reason for that is amazing. Something I thought I would never be able to understand. If I were to read an article on my topic, I wouldn't nearly understand as much as I would studying here.
Of all the projects I think I definitely interacted with all ages, the elderly, the adults and the children. It was truly amazing to see how all three of these generations were able to provide amazing information to drive my research forward. My interactions with the community were great, All of my contacts were so nice and kind to let me into their own home to talk to them. I am so glad I had this opportunity to connect with local people of this village.
I realized a lot about myself, being able to connect with most of the community. I found out that I enjoy simply talking to many shop owners and elders, them telling me stories and having a good laugh. This inquiry project told me so much more about me than just reading an article on it. This was a big thing coming on Microcampus that I was definitely looking forward too. This part of the experience I would have never been able to imagine.
As a learner through this process I realized if I put my mind to it, I could stay dialed in. Back at school many times I sometimes would not pay attention because either the content simply was not interesting or I was distracted. But here at Microcampus, I really put my mind into this inquiry project and was able to stay dialed in and put out a great final product. There are times in my life that I hoped to get a kick in the butt to start working, I feel Microcampus has done that and I will definitely transfer that to my shanghai life.
If I were to go back to the beginning of the project I would definitely look over more alumni work. If I did I would have been more prepared on possibly the children here at Xizhou and the difficulty it is to talk with them. Many of the children were at school and even on the weekends, it was still difficult. If I found out about this early on I would not have done my original inquiry project. I hope that future Microcampus students do this project, it gives them an amazing chance to connect with all ages of the community.
If I were to make this project even better, I would focus on the kids. I was unable to because I was not comfortable talking to the kids, they were not comfortable to talk to me and them were not around during the work times. People who do this topic in the future I really hope can talk to kids. that would really strengthen the project if we get everybody's perspectives. In the past nobody has done parental expectations, I didn't have much to base my project off of but I did the best I could.
I would like to thank Mr. T for being the supportive teacher he is, helping me find my inquiry project of parents expectations and providing amazing and thoughtful insight. I would like to thank Mrs. Mai for being so wonderful when we go out for teacher support, helping me with translation and being able to connect with the local community so well. I would like to thank all of the participants in my project, they were so helpful and open to telling information that might be personally, I do not know what I would have done without them. And finally, I would like to thank all of the minor campus students here. Them making me laugh during stressful times, being supportive and providing great ideas for my project. Without any of these wonderful people, I would not have been able to get this far.
My time here in Xizhou has been the greatest experience of my life. washing dishes and doing my own laundry are all new to me, I glad of all places to learn the proper way to do them, It's here at Microcampus. My inquiry project has helped me connect with the community on all aspects. Here at Microcampus, I have been given many opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and leave the Shanghai bubble behind. Microcampus is an unforgettable experience that I will hold dear to my heart for a very long time.