The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF) is dedicated to driving change in the rural areas of Taiwan and changing the lives of students from financially underprivileged backgrounds, through education as a ground for nurturing talents and engineering social revolution. In doing so, ACF takes a leaf from one of the largest and most successful public charter school networks in the United States – the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). Since 2015, ACF and Junyi Academy has supported the teachers and principals of rural schools to attend the annual KIPP School Summit (KSS), seeking inspiration for innovation in operating schools and effecting education. This July, led by the Chairman of Junyi Academy, Fang Shin-Jou, 14 educators participated in the KSS 2016.
Now in its third year running, the 2016 Huatung Choir Camp took place from July 5th through 16th at the Junyi Experimental High School. Aimed at inspiring the youth of Huatung and building their self-confidence, this year’s camp brought together 79 junior high schoolers from around the Huatung region, 46 volunteers from Taiwanese universities, and seven teachers from around the world. The theme this year was Disney’s Aladdin, and the camp concluded with a final performance at the Taitung County Cultural Center Performance Hall. The 2016 camp was a collaboration between the Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF), the Harvest 365 Foundation, and the Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation (SSWF). SSWF is devoted to helping burn survivors rebuild their lives and confidence, and three children supported by SSWF attended the Choir Camp this year for the first time.
The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF) believes that education should and can be different. Learn-Think-Express is an immersive and active teaching method; it triggers the process of digesting knowledge and returns the learning initiative back to the student. The traditional unilateral, force-feeding style of teaching limits the student’s joy, speed, and ability to learn. When all that is taught is meant for testing purposes only, students lose their motivation for learning quickly. Students can read three times faster than teachers can speak. By changing the classroom focus to learning, thinking, and expressing good grades come naturally. Learn-Think-Express was first initiated in 2013 by Taipei Municipal Zhongshan Girls High School (ZGHS) teacher Hui-Cheng Zhang; Zhang was the first in Taiwan to introduce the ‘always open classrooms’. Learn-Think-Express is a path to ever-learning for both the teachers and the students, and has been adopted in classrooms across Asia. In December 2016, with the administrative support of ACF, Zhang will lead the first annual 2016 Learn-Think-Express Asia Conference in Taipei, inviting educators and speakers worldwide.
The end-of-year challenge is a tradition at Junyi Experimental High School. It pushes students to face their fears and tackle mental and physical challenges with bravery and courage. This year, the 10th graders embarked on the biggest challenge yet: they built their own kayaks and paddled them on the Pacific Ocean. With professional guidance from Master shipbuilder, Taitung University Professors as well as the Fire Council, students used their mathematics, arts, and outdoor training together to plan the project, and would each end up spending over 100 hours building their kayaks and practicing for the challenge.
As The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF) and partners drive coding education in Taiwan, it meets educators who have initiated it beyond their own classrooms. Understanding that coding is an essential skill in the future workforce, Professor Su, Wen-Yu of Information Engineering at National Cheng Kung University brings coding education to underprivileged primary and secondary school students in Chiayi’s remote. At the learning facility of Gougou Church (過溝基督教會), youths in the community learn to build games, apps, automate robotics and machinery through coding.
With the rising integration of smart technologies in the workforce and daily lives, The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF) recognizes the importance of technical literacy for future generations. ACF, Junyi Academy (誠致教育基金會) and partners introduce Hour of Code (HOC), a global movement aimed to raise awareness on coding education in schools, to parents and teachers of Taiwan. ACF aims to reach 200,000 users in 2016 as well as work with teachers and professional volunteers through a series of workshops to train and, more importantly, to develop a curriculum and blueprint to bring into all classrooms.
Since 2013, The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF) has continued to sponsor Taiwan indigenous youths to pursue advanced studies and internship at Hawaii’s Brigham Young University (BYU) and its neighboring, Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). Through global encountering on an island that celebrates native culture, ACF believes the advanced studies program will expand horizons and inspire ideas to cultivate positive growth in the villages and communities of Taiwan. Nearly three years on since the return of its first candidate – Kwali. now Chief of Yilan’s Bulao Bulao Aboriginal Village (不老部落), he develops a unique in-tribe diploma program for the village’s high school dropouts to have a second chance at education.
Through a 2014 study conducted by CommonWealth Parenting magazine (親子天下) on the emotional health of students in Taiwan, results disclosed an absence of emotional management skills in its youths today. Due to the 21st century’s fast changing environments and its growing number of working parents and single-parent households, the importance of nurturing a child’s social-emotional intelligence is often under-prioritized. With a child’s emotional intelligence valued as a key pillar of development at The Alliance Cultural Foundation’s (ACF) teacher’s learning centre for remote education reform – Junyi Centre for Teaching and Learning (JCTL), ACF partners with Happiness Village organization, offering a series of workshops to teach educators the skill to lead students to better manage negative emotions.
Throughout 2015, in partnership with The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF), Paradigm Education led a series of The Leader in Me (TLIM) workshops in Taitung and Hualien. TLIM model, inspired by Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book, aligns directly with ACF’s mission for developing leadership and life skills essential to the 21st century as well as ACF’s goals for Junyi Centre for Teaching and Learning (JCTL) – a centre created for remote education, for its educators to develop professionally, to be facilitated to make change within themselves then to their students. JCTL values and centres its curriculum on Waldorf education, Junyi Academy, innovative teaching, the arts and humanities as well as the development of character where TLIM falls under.
Makota’ay Waldorf kindergarten is the first Waldorf school in Taiwan to teach in native language. The school is located in Hualien’s Makota’ay (Gangkou) Village where it is home to the Amis people – one of 14 officially recognized Taiwan aborigine tribes. Established after the government’s approval of charter schools in remote villages, February 2015, Waldorf teacher, Lin, Shu-Zhao and a group of village mothers founded Makota’ay Waldorf. The school has shown to not only preserve a vulnerable language but tribal culture.