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Traditional Culture Nurtures and Broadens Horizons

[日期:2017-06-14] 来源:CHINA TODAY  作者:矫枫 [字体: ]

THE Zhenquyuan Museum of Intangible Cultural Heritage is located in Beijing’s Zhaodengyu School. Green bamboo flanks its old-style “moon gate” a circular opening in a garden wall, and a pebble path leads to the exhibition hall. A small craft studio occupies the outer section, and at its core is an exhibition space for the traditional handicrafts on display. Students often spend their lunch breaks looking at these works which acquaint them with the workmanship of China’s various custodians of intangible cultural heritage.

 

Xu Wei, the school principal, sees the museum as a platform for students’ deeper understanding of Chinese history and traditional Chinese culture.

 

Interest Educates

 

Sadly, this array of intangible cultural heritage has evolved from folk handicrafts that bear little relevance to contemporary urban life. Seventh grader Xun Zhichao is a Beijing native. But she admits to having had complete ignorance of traditional local handicrafts before the museum opened.

 

 
 
Handicraft custodians are invited to give weekly lectures designed to interest students.

 

“Now I can see and even touch these skillfully crafted items. I particularly like the hairy monkey toys. Their delicate workmanship is fascinating.” Hairy monkeys are made of cicada slough and magnolia buds. They are positioned in scenarios representative of street culture and social conventions. “We have courses on intangible cultural heritage at school, and I immediately signed up for the one on how to make hairy monkeys,” Xun said.

 

Xu Xiaoxiao, the advisor on the school’s intangible cultural heritage programs, spoke of the extracurricular craft courses that include seal cutting, new-year woodblock printing, gourd pyrography, and making kites, clay rabbits, and hairy monkeys. Handicraft custodians are invited to give weekly lectures designed to interested students.

 

After a six-class program, Xun can now fashion simple hairy monkeys. “My grandfather is thrilled, because they remind him of his childhood,” Xun said. “The teacher also gives us background information. I now know the four Chinese herbs that are among the materials needed to make hairy monkeys and also that their history goes back hundreds of years longer than that of some countries.” Xun has since signed up for the clay rabbit-making class. When she becomes adept she can present another gift to delight her grandfather.

 

The people of a country should be well versed in its history and culture. “It requires only the kindling of students’ interest for them to become keen to learn,” Xu Wei said. “We aim to provide a base that helps them discover what truly interests them. If they desire to learn more, we can help them to pursue their interest. But this is entirely up to them, because craft classes are optional.”

 

Growing with Confidence

 

Zhang Ai is a student leader in the school’s seventh grade. She speaks clearly and succinctly, and excels at giving presentations. She started dancing and singing classes in the first grade and studied Peking Opera in Grade Four. She is, along with certain fellow students, in the school’s Peking Opera group. In 2014 the group performed in France at the 50th anniversary celebration of diplomatic ties between China and France. A student leader usually helps teachers organize various activities. In addition to being busy with her studies, therefore, Zhang is also active in other ways at school. But she doesn’t find extracurricular activities any hardship. “I thought of studying Peking Opera as an enlargement of my hobbies. Performing on stage has taught me to keep a cool head when facing challenges, and has helped my confidence when handling complicated problems,” Zhang said.

 

 
 
Professionals from Beijing Jingju Theater Company not only teach artistry to students in the Peking Opera group, but also impress the children with their hard-working attitude.

 

Xu Yifei is one year Zhang’s junior. But she has been a member of the Peking Opera group for more than two years, and taken part in more performances than Zhang. “I was terrified of making mistakes at first, but not anymore,” Xu said. “I want to display myself to perfection on the stage or in front of a camera.” Stardom has always been her dream. Traditional Chinese opera has given her the confidence to pursue it.

 

Zhao Changfu, a director of the principal’s office, is in charge of the school’s extracurricular activities. She spoke of one of her students, a girl whose academic performance seemed below her potential. Behind in her class, the student suffered from low esteem and was withdrawn. She had a good singing voice and joined the Peking Opera group in Grade Seven. After just two years she became a competent performer within the group. Memorizing lines a staple requirement of this art form greatly enhanced her memory and so improved her studying aptitude. She made such excellent progress that she eventually joined a professional troupe.

 

 
 
Zhenquyuan Museum of Intangible Cultural Heritage serves as a platform for students’ deeper understanding of Chinese history and traditional Chinese culture.

 

“Exams are not the sole criterion for evaluating a student’s capabilities. Everyone has their strong points and should be encouraged to bring them into full play,” Zhao said. “Each child is a good seed. As teachers, we must plant them in the appropriate soil.” She pointed to pictures students had drawn hanging on the corridor walls, and the calligraphic couplets they had painted on classroom and office doors, saying, “All of us need approbation as well as a platform to present ourselves. For a student, drawing or calligraphy achievements are no less significant than outstanding academic performances, and equally worthy of pride and commendation.”

 

Incremental Influence

 

Zhaodengyu School currently offers more than 10 extracurricular programs. They include not only traditional Chinese culture, but also pursuits that range from flower arranging to sports. “In my opinion, schools should create a greater scope of choice for students,” Principal Xu Wei said. Today students in Zhaodengyu School are exposed to traditional Chinese culture through the use of media that includes exhibitions, videos, and lectures.

 

Zhenquyuan Museum represents the fruits of the collaboration the school has with the No. 93 Courtyard Museum. Dedicated to passing down Beijing’s intangible cultural heritage and folk art, the museum helps the school devise relevant courses and software, and invites cultural custodians to give handicraft classes. According to its curator Lin Yi, they hope more children will be able to perceive the culture embodied in craftsmanship instead of simply learning these skills. “Each type of handicraft showcases the history and lifestyle of a particular period. These memories are the most valuable aspect. For children, learning time-honored workmanship brings the same joy as playing, and interest in traditional culture can be cultivated in the midst of leisure pursuits. This is incremental influence,” Lin said.

 

 
 
The traditional method of making hairy monkeys is taught on an extracurricular craft course. Photos by Jiao Feng

 

Zhao Changfu considers cooperating with professional organizations to be a way of strengthening education. “After all, a school’s resources are limited. Therefore, cooperation benefits both the school and its students,” Zhao said. “Another example is the collaboration between the school’s Peking Opera group and the Beijing Jingju Theater Company. Professionals from the company not only teach artistry, but also provide the venue, costumes, makeup and the other necessities that enable our students to give performances.”

 

Zhao emphasized how popular the school’s extracurricular programs are among students. Each student, on a first-come-first-served basis, may sign up for two courses. “Interest is their sole motivation for attending these classes,” Zhao said. “This is the pleasure of acquiring knowledge without pressure. As they grow and learn, they will better understand the significance of cultural inheritance.” Zhao raised the example of performers from the Beijing Jingju Theater Company. “They are always on time when coming to give classes to our students. Some are respected artists. If they arrive ahead of the scheduled time, they practice acting techniques while waiting for the students. Their hard-working attitude helps students understand that success is borne of diligence and unremitting efforts.”

 

The school principal agrees. Xu Wei understands that traditional Chinese culture might be too abstract and deep for primary and middle school students to appreciate. “But we do not intend to train professionals in this field, and nor do we require the students to reach certain levels. We simply provide opportunities for them to experience the enjoyment that traditional culture brings. They can at the same time learn to appreciate beauty in all aspects of life. I believe fulfillment in this sense can be deemed success,” Xu concluded.

 

 

 

从传统文化中撷取营养

本刊记者  矫枫 

    在北京市丰台区有一座特殊的非遗博物馆——真趣园。古香古色的月亮门两旁种着葱茏的翠竹,沿着石阶小路进入馆内会发现,博物馆面积不大,分成内外两部分:外面设有桌椅,是一个小小工作坊,里面展区的展柜上摆放着兔儿爷、绢人、蛋雕、葫芦等十几种传统手工艺品。这座博物馆的特殊之处在于,它建在北京市赵登禹学校校内,学生们可以利用午休时间参观,还可以在这里跟非遗传承人学习。

    赵登禹学校的校长徐唯告诉记者,创办这座博物馆的初衷,就是希望学生们能近距离地了解、感受中国的传统文化,感受中国历史的厚重。

 

了解源自兴趣

    北京的非物质文化遗产很多是来自传统的民间手工技艺,但随着社会的发展,这些民间手工技艺逐渐退出了人们的日常生活。12岁的荀志超是赵登禹学校七年级(相当于初中一年级)的学生,她告诉记者,她虽然出生在北京,但之前她对北京的传统手工艺接触的也很少,自从学校的非遗博物馆建成后,她才真正的近距离接触到这些手工艺作品。“我喜欢毛猴,因为它的制作特别精细,造型生动,看起来很有意思。正好学校开设有非遗的课程,我就报名参加了毛猴技艺学习班。”荀志超说。

    徐潇潇老师是学校负责非遗课程的指导老师,她介绍,从上学期起,学校开设了篆刻、风筝、兔儿爷、毛猴四项非物质文化遗产技艺的课外班课程,本学期又增加了木版年画和烙葫芦两项课程,每周三的下午正课结束后,利用自习时间请相关技艺的传承人来学校讲课,每期6节课,学生可以自愿报名参加。

    6节课时学完后,荀志超已经可以自已动手制作简单的毛猴作品。“上个月我在家做了一个,爷爷特别感兴趣,因为他小时候就经常看这些。”荀志超说,“特别是听了老师讲解毛猴背后的故事,比如所用材料是四味中药、比如它的历史有几百年,比某些国家的建国时间都长,等等,更是感觉到我们传统文化的博大精深。”目前,荀志超又报名参加了兔儿爷技艺学习班,她要亲手做一个兔儿爷送给爷爷。

    每个人都应该了解自已国家的历史、自已民族的文化,了解的方式可以有多种渠道。“首先要让学生们知道、接触到、有兴趣,他才有深入了解的愿望。我们学校做的就是这种普及教育。在此基础上,总会有喜欢这些的、愿意进一步学习了解的孩子,学校就创造条件,发挥他们的特长。当然,所有这些课程都是自愿的,学生不喜欢,也不会被勉强。”徐唯校长说。

 

让孩子更自信

    张嫒是赵登禹学校七年级的大队长,说话简捷干脆,表达能力很强。她告诉记者,她从一年级开始就学习舞蹈和唱歌,四年级又开始学了京剧,现在还参加了赵登禹学校的京剧社团。“2014年中法建交50周年,老师还带我们去法国演出,我演出的剧目是京剧《卖水》选段。”提起自已的“演艺”生涯,张嫒很自豪。作为老师的助手,身为大队长的张嫒平时也很忙,除了完成自已的学业,还要协助老师组织年级里的各项活动。“我学习京剧,就是把它当成自已的爱好,可以让自已的兴趣更广泛。特别是有了一些演出经验后,再遇到事情不会紧张,处理问题更自信。”张嫒这样说。

    和张嫒一个小组的徐艺菲比张嫒低一年级,她参加京剧社团也有两年多,登台演出的次数比张嫒还多,“第一次参加演出时也是特别紧张,光怕自已唱错,但现在已经不怕了,我希望自已能在舞台上或镜头前表现出更完美的自已。”徐艺菲说。她告诉记者自已的梦想是当明星,虽然在她这个年龄,明星还只是个很模糊的概念,但至少她有要在众人面前表现自已的这份自信。

    校长办公室主任赵常馥老师负责学校的社团活动,给记者讲了一个小故事。她曾经带过一个学习成绩很差的学生,经常是连语文课文都背不下来,考试成绩总是班里后几名,在班里也不爱说话,很自卑。但是她的嗓子好,七年级就加入了京剧社团,上到九年级(相当于初三)时,已经是社团的主力。学京剧要背台词,孩子的记忆力也增强了,课文背的流利了,学习成绩也有所提高,性格也变得开朗自信,后来考上了曲剧团。

     “评价一个学生,不能只看学习成绩。每个人的优秀表现在不同方面,需要找到自已的亮点。”赵常馥说,“每个孩子都是一颗成功的种子,老师要善于挖掘,要找到适合它的土壤。”她指着教室走廊墙上的绘画说,这些都是学生们画的,教室和办公室门口的对联也是学生们写的,“每个人都需要别人的认可,也需要一个能展现自已的平台。也可能有的学生学习成绩并不突出,但他画的好,书法好,能得到老师和其他同学的认可,对他自已来说,也是一件值得骄傲的事。”

 

教育是潜移默化

    赵登禹学校现在开设的校外课程多达十几门,除了非遗技艺、京剧,还有书法、绘画、插花、体育等项目。“我的理念是,学校要给孩子们更多的选择权。”徐唯校长告诉记者,赵登禹学校经常开展活动,通过展览、视频、讲座等形式让学生们接触更多的传统文化。

    和赵登禹学校合作创办真趣园的93号院博物馆是一家以介绍北京非物质文化遗产和民间艺术为主题的社区博物馆,博物馆以自身的资源优势,帮助学校设计课程、介绍相关技艺的传承人为学生授课,同时博物馆还有课题组为学生开发课件。93号院博物馆馆长蔺熠告诉记者,他们的目的并不是仅仅教会学生某项制作技艺,而是希望更多的学生能通过这项技艺感受到其背后的文化内含。“因为每一项技艺背后都有一方水土,那段历史是什么样的,那时候的人们是如何生活的,这些‘记忆’凝聚在每个具体的项目上,才是最有价值的部分。而对于孩子们来说,这些手工技艺更多的是玩儿,在玩儿的过程中树立起对传统文化的兴趣,这是一种潜移默化的教育。”蔺熠说。

    和专业的机构合作,赵常馥老师称之为“借力”,“毕竟学校本身的资源有限,有这样合作的机会,对我们学校、对学生都是好事。”赵常馥说,“我们学校的京剧社团,就是与北京京剧院合作,他们不仅教学生们唱京剧,还为学校的演出提供场地、伴奏、戏服,帮学生们勾脸化妆。这些都需要专业的人士来完成。”

    赵常馥老师介绍,学校开设的这些课外班课程很受学生们欢迎,名额常常不够用,只能按学生填报志愿的前后招收,每名学生可以填报两个志愿。“这些课程没有功利性,又不考试,全凭兴趣。在没有压力的情况下,接受知识是愉悦的,而随着学生们年龄的增长和学习的深入,他们会慢慢地体会到历史背后的文化传承。”赵常馥老师举了个例子。她说,京剧社团的老师请的都是北京京剧团的演员,有的还是京剧名家。  

    “老师们每次来上课,都会提前到,有的老师一边等学生,一边还要压腿练功。他们这种认真的态度和学习的精神,会让学生们感到,成功不仅需要刻苦,还需要不断的努力。这也是一种教育。”

    徐唯校长也持同样观点。他认为,中国传统文化博大精深,对于中小学学生而言可能不能完全理解,“我们不是培养(这方面的)专业人材,不需要学生有多高的水平,我们做的就是普及教育,让学生们学会欣赏,能感受到传统文化带来的快乐和愉悦的心情,能有美的感受,进而追求美的事物。能做到这一点,就是我们的成功。”

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