British Bulldogs? Students to ditch traditional game for Chinese craze

editorial image

Forget British Bulldogs, students from a Shirebrook school are taking tips from the Far East when it comes to lunchtime leisure.

Pupils of Stubbin Wood School recently visited China on a 10-day exchange trip and learned to play the game of shuttlecock, or jianzi.

A national sport in China, the game resembles the American game of hackysack and involves players attempting to keep an object, consisting of a series of weighted discs attached to four feathers, up in the air without using their hands.

Pat Lyons, co-coordinator for China at Stubbin Wood, said: “They had a lot of fun with shuttlecock so we are thinking of introducing it as a lunchtime club, along with a number of other skills we learnt in China, such as organising a Chinese Tea Ceremony, painting and seal cutting, so that more of our students can enjoy these activities too.”

Stubbin Wood has been sending groups of staff and students to China for a number of years and on the most recent visit, students spent five days in Shanghai and a further five in Zhongshan, in Guangdong province, near Hong Kong.

In Shanghai, where the group were guests of the Yan Fan Special School in Shanghai’s Yangpu district, they took in the sights from the top of the breath-taking Oriental Pearl Tower, visited Buddhist temples, learned how to make Chinese dumplings, tasted various types of tea and got to grips with Shanghai’s Metro system.

The trip is part of a cultural exchange programme that has helped to influence the school’s vocational skills and employability skills.

In return, Stubbin Wood’s teachers have trained their Chinese counterparts about recording the progress of pupils while in school, have established a physio therapy room and introduced the sign language Makaton.

Pay Lyons added: “The trip had benefits for everyone.

“Our students learned a great deal about another country and also themselves, simply by experiencing different foods, meeting new people and being given tasks such as how to get where you need to go on the Metro.

“They really enjoyed meeting the other students and seeing the sights and have come back with lots to tell everyone about.