Singapore Management University Students Get a Taste of Chinese Migrant Education!


A group of 15 students from Singapore Management University arrived in China on December 8th to volunteer with Stepping Stones, teaching migrant students in a partner primary school. For a period of two weeks, the university students taught daily in Shanghai, participating in a few different programs.

Most of The Singapore Management University students were all new to teaching, so during their first two days they received a Stepping Stones led training and were given the chance to observe a local Chinese teacher-led English class. Many of the Singaporean students were surprised by the lesson organization and presentation, as the emphasis was on structure and discipline, something that was different to their own education back in Singapore.

After teacher training and the lesson observation, the university students were ready to start their teaching journey. For the next two weeks they had the opportunity to teach up to 16 lessons per day for grades 1 to 4. The Singapore Management University students provided not only English lessons, but also physical education, arts and dental care classes. During their time in Shanghai they managed to develop a relationship with their migrant students, interacting with the same class more than once. They also engaged in teaching method exchange with the schools’ local teachers.

Overall, Singapore Management University students had, through this first-hand experience, a look into the Chinese education system for migrant children. As they mentioned, their teaching time in Shanghai was an enriching and eye-opening experience and they were touched by the students’ enthusiasm to learn. Here are some of their comments:

«It is easy to take for granted the comfortable lifestyle and education we receive back in Singapore. This trip enforces the desire to not take what I have for granted and to be more appreciative, contributing back to society. »

« My last teaching stint was about 5 years back in a local secondary school in Singapore. At that time my duties were just to hand out homework and “babysit” the class and it was a rather boring experience. However, this time I succeeded to bring across learning with the use of elaborate gestures, emotions and flash cards. I didn’t know teaching can be this fun! On a more depressing note, this trip have also made me realized that the migrant problem is very real. There are children out there who do not have fair opportunities to education and hence success»