Driving Question: 

What is service learning?

Grade 8
During their time in Xizhou, Microcampus students will be involved in student-directed, authentic Service Learning experience. Students will gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their new community, and society as they apply academic, social, and personal skills to show their appreciation to the village of Xizhou.  The focus on the service learning project is capturing an oral history of the active elders of Xizhou. Students learn of the major events that shaped China, our village, and the people living there over the past 100 years. Students build connections with local members of the community, practicing informal conversations about their lives. The final product includes a short video featuring students' Service Learning partners, which include English and Chinese subtitles. The public sharing of the final videos with the Xizhou community promises to be a highlight of the experience for Microcampus participants and their teachers. Learn more about the student's project and work by clicking here.
Student Reflection

" When Mrs. Dong was watching our video, I felt like she enjoyed it. Also, Mrs. Dong was very emotional towards the end of the video. All of our group members saw the tears in her eyes. I feel like that our videos really affected her, and I felt really proud that we made such an effective video. Mrs. Dong also told us that she realized how much she looked like her mother. I think that it was really cool for her to say, because our video gave her a chance to realize something that she would not have noticed if she did not watch our service learning video." - Maggie H.

"Something that I learned about the Cultural Revolution during the project was that the Cultural Revolution were not supported by many people, but they still pretended that they liked it. Many people in reality actually approve of Deng Xiao Ping's political ideas and his reforms, but they do not dare say it out loud because Mao Ze Dong was in power at that time. During Reform and Opening, the economy of China suddenly improved. This experience made me learned that the Chinese history that they teach at local Chinese schools are not accurate enough and they have a bias, including describing Mao Ze Dong as a savior of China. "- Norman

"I learned that even though Xizhou was not a big city, it still got impacted by the Cultural Revolution. When we were talking to Mr. Dong, his sister showed us the damages the red guards made the "old" carvings on the door and the wall. Also, Mr. Dong told us that there was a lake nearby his house when he was young, which told us that Xizhou has changed a lot since the 1960s and the 1950s, and environmental changes are a part of them, since Mr. Dong's house is far away from water." - Bill

Student Products
  • Students learn of the major events that shaped China, our village, and the people living there over the past 100 years
  • Build connections with local members of the community, practicing informal conversations about their lives and
  • Find a Service Learning partner willing to share their story and film conversations with their local partner.
  • Produce the films and share with Service Learning partners, their families, and the larger community
  • Reflect on service learning project
Teacher Reflection

"The Service Learning project is, without question, the most challenging and rewarding part of the Microcampus experience for our students. As they work in small groups to make connections with and build the trust of local members of the community, students are putting all their language, social, collaborative, and technical skills to use in the real world. China’s relationship with the past is a complicated one. The level of trust and connection between SAS students and their Service Learning partners is something that requires time, care, patience, and sensitivity on the part of all participants In the end, this “Voices of the Village” project has resulted in capturing the words and stories of dozens of members in the community that is kind enough to host Microcampus students for their four-week learning adventures. The hope is that these videos serve as a small form of giving thanks to the people of Xizhou as students work to honor and preserve the history of its people." - Craig Tafel


Craig Tafel

HaiSam Mai