Sketches in the Chinese Water Village: Students Visit Zhujiajiao

It is incredibly valuable for students to extend their learning and to apply their skills in a variety of contexts beyond the classroom. Such application cements the knowledge students gain in class, adds more dimensions to their learning experiences, and helps create enthusiastic and passionate learners. Recently, Year 8 students from YCIS Puxi Secondary did just that as they visited the traditional Chinese water village of Zhujiajiao. The trip was organised by the school’s Art department but also incorporated the students’ further learning in other subjects. 


YCIS Puxi Secondary Head of Art, Mr Jason Schell described the skills the Year 8 students were utilising on the trip: “The water village trip emphasises how to draw from observation and how to depict space on a 2D surface. We will also use the photographs students took on this trip for upcoming projects.” Of course, the drawing wasn’t isolated to the trip. “This is scaffolded on our perspective drawing lessons (which has a connection to Mathematics). There is also a crossover with the Chinese language and History departments,” added Mr Schell. This multidisciplinary learning experience and crossover between subjects is beneficial for the students as it can make each activity more accessible. In this case, those students with a passion for drawing can further their interest in their Maths, Chinese, and History lessons, and vice-versa. 


Not only does this type of field trip support students’ learning in a particular Art topic, but it is also used to inspire work in other areas of artistic creation. “We use the trip as a springboard for numerous other art projects. Currently, we’re preparing a watercolour landscape based on our photographs. In past years, we also created 3D models of the architecture,” said Mr Schell. Extending the learning from one trip across multiple subjects also gives more meaning to the experience as it doesn’t occur in isolation.

Being out in the open air and seeing the water village up-close gave students a chance to interact with local people in Chinese, to see the traditional architecture, and to observe the distinct way of life in a uniquely-Chinese surrounding. The Art department is always thinking of different ways in which students can interact with the city and appreciate the local design and culture surrounding them. From the incredible city skyline at Lujiazui and the Bund, to the traditional Shikumen buildings of Xintiandi, Shanghai is a stunning place which has vast potential to inspire so much artistic and creative output for YCIS students.

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