Machinto Project at Bairnsdale

Robyn先生(AU)新聞への寄稿  July 31st,2011

Machinto Project at Bairnsdale Secondary College, Victoria, Australia

Students from Bairnsdale Secondary College travelled to Taiwan to present at an international conference this month.


The project was first introduced to us by Rob King, the i-EARN representative from Australia, and a respected ex-teacher of Bairnsdale Secondary College. At the time the Federal Government was increasing funding for projects based on participation in Asian Language and Asian Studies within schools, so the Machinto project was part of the successful application made by the school for a National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP) grant.

Students from grade 6 in the feeder schools of Bairnsdale Secondary College were invited to join current year 7 students to attend a workshop day based around the project, and with the aim of writing a fictional story that showed the effects of war and conflict on children. Many parents attended the workshop day and encouraged their children to start the project. The book “Machinto was read to them and they watched a film,” Barefoot Gen” about the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima. David Lewin from the Bairnsdale RSL also spoke to the students. Next the students workshopped story ideas based around the theme. They brainstormed ideas for the story, and consulted with Bairnsdale Secondary College English staff about their ideas. Most students worked hard on their stories and illustrations over the Christmas holidays.


In 2011 drafts of the books were brought to school, they were edited, and the illustrations further developed in art workshops with artist and teacher Marlene Baxter. The best of these were selected for publishing using on-line editing. Year 9 students Anthony Mayze and Noah Stuart assisted with mentoring the younger students throughout this process.


Due to the assistance of the grant the group was able to travel to Taiwan to the i-EARN Conference and Student Summit, with financial assistance and scholarships for the students. It had been planned to visit several war sites in Japan including Hiroshima as part of the trip, but this year’s natural and nuclear disasters prevented that. Bethany Ellsum, Seirian Hart, Zoe O’Brien, Tameeka Ngapare, and Molly Waddell, together with project coordinator Robyn Kercher travelled to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to present their books at the conference, and to join with students from other countries who had also participated in the project.


The bound books were highly regarded displaying the artistic and literary talents of the students. At the conference they spoke about their personal growth from the projects inception to being able to present their work to a group of international educators.


For the majority of students this was their first trip abroad, and the warm welcome in Kaohsiung was greatly appreciated. A school visit was arranged at Affiliated Senior High School of Kaohsiung Normal University and Lichih Senior High School, and a home stay program for two nights. Although quite a challenge for such young girls the kindness of the host families helped them through missing their families back home. There were many opportunities to try to learn Chinese, but most Taiwanese had a good grasp of English, so communication was easy. We also had a visit to an international Scout Jamboree, night markets, umbrella and fan making activities and problem solving at the Kaohsiung museum.


Presenting on the stage With the book, “Machinto”

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