Guilin Sunny School was founded in September of 1999 and is the first privately owned, bilingual boarding school in Guilin. Located in the Seven Star District of Guilin, it contains two sections – a kindergarten and an elementary school. While most of our students are native to China, many students have come to study at Guilin Sunny School from foreign countries such as: Japan, Korea, Holland, The United States of America, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao. All students, having graduated from Sunny School, go on to their ideal middle schools.
With a student population nearing 1000, Guilin Sunny School is a happy place to study, a friendly home, and a wonderful educational center to nurture talent. Sunny School teaches upon the principles of “moral education”, leading their students to develop character, self-discipline, curiosity, independence, and creativity. Our teachers care deeply about their students and work hard to see that every student receives the attention they need and deserve.
Opening its doors in the fall of 2012 Sunny School will boast a brand new middle school and high school. We are excited and happy to welcome new students into our growing educational system. As a bilingual school, Sunny School is also proud to host an international program and employ foreign English teachers. Each year, another international class is formed to meet the growing educational need for students seeking to further their proficiency in the English language. Whether international or local, any student with a basis in English is welcome. Students in the international program are taught by Chinese teachers using eastern teaching methods in the morning, and by native English speakers who use western teaching methods in the afternoon. As of the fall 2012 semester, Guilin Sunny School international program will have a first, second, and third grade class and will continue to grow as the years progress.
Joining competitions both within the Guangxi province and nationwide, our confident young students have excelled in events such as: Olympic math, Olympic English, writing, dancing, art, calligraphy, sports, and chess. Over the years, more than 2000 of our students have won awards from competitions such as these.
Our school lays claim to local and national notoriety. The Guilin City Education Bureau honors Sunny School by calling it “Guilin’s bilingual educational school”, an “advanced unit in student health and safety”, “Guilin’s math experimental base of new teaching math”, and “a peaceful campus”. The National Education Bureau has named Guilin Sunny School an “experimental base of the national science education”, and an “advanced school in annual standard administration”. We look forward to many happy and successful years ahead.
Sunny School International Classes Bring Eastern and Western Teaching Methods Together
Differences in cultures are wonderful, exciting, new, and to be celebrated. We can learn from our differences, which is part of what the international program at Guilin Sunny School is trying to do. We are here to assist students in their learning of a new language and culture by merging it with the language and culture they already have.
When it comes to teaching, an eastern teachers focus on textbooks, which leads to memorized learning, but does not necessarily promote understanding. This style of teaching often results in the need for ‘cram schools’, which are abundant in most eastern societies. Western teachers focus their teaching efforts on understanding and use the textbook more as a reference. China has an expression for the eastern style of teaching, its called “feeding the duck”. The feeder is giving food to the duck without really thinking about how the duck is receiving the food. The duck is packed with food that someone else put there, but the duck doesn’t know what it ate. The English class in the international program tries to avoid that style and promote more independent thinking. In a way, its telling the duck to look at the food it is eating and know what it is eating before stuffing it into its mouth. The teacher student relationship also differs between the two teaching methods. Eastern teachers are meant to be respected, and that frequently creates a distance between the teacher and student. Students may not be comfortable voicing a concern or asking a question. If there is confusion with the material being taught, a western teacher will encourage the student to express that confusion and ask questions to clarify. That clarification is very important to a student in a western class. Students will be checked for understanding of a concept and not necessarily exact facts. Eastern teachers aim to produce perfect students who are well disciplined and always know the answer to a textbook question, while their western counterparts will aim for students who can make their own choices and are more independent in their learning. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, the combination of both styles allows for a student to learn in a more comprehensive manner. Students in Sunny School’s international program have daily exposure to both styles of teaching, making them well rounded students capable of learning in either environment.
For a person to grow up looking at the world from only a western or only an eastern point of view makes it difficult to adjust when moved into a culture that focuses its attention in an opposite direction. For students who grow up with both a western and eastern cultural influence, transitioning back and forth between the two cultures will become easy and comfortable.
We aim to open the minds and understanding of our students by showing that there are different ways of looking at the same thing. A Chinese teacher may teach a principle one way, and a few hours later the student may be taught the same principle by their English teacher in a different way. International students will learn that both ways can bring them to the same understanding, thus bridging the gap between the two styles and providing a lifelong understanding between the two cultures.
Studies have shown that if a student grows up learning with specifically eastern style methods (like they would in China), and then decides to continue their education in a country where western style teaching methods are used (like they would be in America), they will have a difficult time learning in their new environment. If a student grows up in China and then moves to Canada to attend university, there will be learning barriers that may inhibit the student’s success. One of the main problems cited by western teachers who have new eastern style learners is that of communication. Western teachers will lecture in ways that require students to listen and take their own notes, written in their own words. Sunny School international students are encouraged to be actively engaged in speaking and listening exercises. These exercises are sometimes formal, but are more often simple directions given in English to complete a task, which the students must listen to and interpret in order to accomplish. By doing this, international students are building their communication skills. We are proud of our students for their ability to adapt to both the Eastern and Western teaching methods and know that this skill will benefit them wherever life takes them.