On June 12th, Beijing Aidi School held a traditional culture festival in the Forbidden City Concert Hall. The festival was made up of three parts: a concert with the theme “Global Citizens with a Chinese Identity”, the “National Treasure Keeper” culture salon, and “Face of China”, an exhibition of student artwork. As a frontrunner in international education in China, Aidi School called for a greater regard for China’s cultural heritage.
Famous artist helps students to comprehend ‘Global Citizen with Chinese Identity’
A teacher read the article My Stage from the primary school language text book and the students were intrigued by the protagonist's on stage experience. At that moment the author, Wu Shuang, appeared among the children. She shared her experiences with the students and performed part of the Pingju classic Rose Blossom with them.
Author, playwright, and singer Ms Wu Shuang co-directed the entire concert and reflected school life in the form of a stage play. Ms Wu's mother was Xin Fengxia, celebrated “Queen of Pingju”, and her father was the famous playwright and film director Wu Zuguang. Born into such a cultural family environment, she profoundly understands the significance of cultural influences on children. During more than ten years of living abroad, she realized the ultimate in Chinese and Western opera. On this basis, she created her own style. She firmly believes that "national uniqueness leads on the path to global acceptance." To this end, she is also committed to cultivating more rooted citizens and creating cultural ambassadors to the world. She was delighted to discover Aidi's education philosophy coincided with hers, and is hoping to achieve her dream through the school. "The children's programs are very new but I can see that they have accepted and digested rich and diverse information."
On the day of the concert, Wu Shuang also presented her own soprano style, performing the classic song The Lonely Shepherd in a humorous yet pleasing style, with both rich and funny voices, and imitative movements. On choosing the song, Wu Shuang explained, “When I had a performance, I heard the kids giggle from under the stage. I found the children liked this kind of music.” Performing along with Aidi's students, she hopes to interpret her understanding of Chinese and Western cultures for the children.
In providing students with a stage like the Forbidden City Concert Hall, Aidi wants them to experience the spirit of stage life as mentioned by Wu Shuang in the text book, and learn to bring Chinese culture to the world.
A cultural tour with a National Treasure Keeper
In addition to the stage show, Aidi School also optimizes and strengthens the students' experience of learning traditional culture through its museum curriculum. Aidi is the first international school in Beijing to use a museum curriculum. Targeting students of different age groups for customized museum courses, each month the students visit a different museum or exhibition hall. Since 2017, the sum of museum lessons has exceeded 100 hours, benefiting more than 2,000 students.
Also devoted to popularizing traditional cultural knowledge through museum courses, Geng Shuo, Peking University postdoctoral archaeologist, lecturer at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Institute of Humanities, and contributor to CCTV show National Treasure Keeper, brought the audience a salon on traditional culture education. In it he tells the story of his own relationship with national treasures, and explains the significance of learning traditional culture in the modern era.
Geng Shuo said that participating in CCTV's National Treasure showed him that the demand for platforms and methods for learning Chinese traditional culture is very strong. In his opinion, a good scholar must be able to write a highly academic article and at the same time contribute to the popularization of knowledge. He said, "Traditional culture is in our heritage, not just through the skills of learning but also included in all aspects of historical experience and our understanding of our ancestors’ aesthetic taste and spiritual world, so the museum is a very good tool to help families realize aesthetic education and traditional culture education."
At the salon, Guo Zixuan, a Year 2 student at Aidi Primary School and one of Geng Shuo’s students in the museum course, also shared his experience of the Forbidden City with the audience, impressing them with his understanding of garden landscaping, architecture, calligraphy, and fine art.
One hundred Faces of China show China's image
One hundred portraits made up the Face of China exhibition in the Forbidden City Concert Hall, representing one of the most striking themes of this cultural festival. Aidi students created images of Chinese people through a variety of techniques, expressing their understanding of China’s people and culture, and the Chinese character.
For the students, the Face of China is not just a portrait, but also contains emotions, relationships, beliefs, and many other connotations. The paintings embody national characteristics: girls dressed in traditional ethnic costumes, old people who have experienced the vicissitudes of life and ideological beliefs, contemporary figures in brilliant fashions, women with self-confidence and assertiveness, idols with youthful personalities, and the ordinary people around them such as mothers and classmates, with each piece bringing its own unique flavor to the exhibition.
“Your place is your China.” The scene in your eyes, the people you love, the things you care about, the happiness you enjoy -- it all comes from your country. Through participation in the exhibition, hundreds of teachers and students expressed their understanding of the motherland through paintings, and promoted the great concepts of the nation and the country around us, implanting these into everyone's hearts.
This is what we call patriotism today
Ms. Lydia Liu, the founder of Aidi School, said: “The performances and works of art that we see today are the epitome of their study of Chinese culture and world culture. For international students, learning about world culture can help them to expand their view and establish their own cultural identity. In the future, learning and living around the world, their heritage and interpretation of Chinese culture will surely become a window for the world to understand China. In the international community today, China is playing an increasingly important role in all aspects of culture, politics, and economics. Having a strong cultural self-confidence and embrace of the world's multicultural talents is a requirement for the development of the international community. The ‘global citizen with a Chinese identity’ is the educational philosophy we have always had and is the most important social responsibility of the international school."