CyberFair Project ID: 8243

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Father Brendan O’Connell, Protector of developmental delays
Category: 1. Local Leaders

School: Jhaigang Elementary School
    Tainan Municipal, Taiwan, Taiwan

5 students, ages 11-12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on February 21, 2017. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): no

Classes and Teachers: Chou,Chun-Lin

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

The area where we reside is called the Xuejia District, located in the northwestern part of Tainan City. Being close to the coast, the land has a higher level of salinity. The Bazhang River, Jishui River and Jiangjyun River flow through the region, and given the flat terrain, flooding is frequent during heavy rain.

The early residents of Xuejia District were the Pingpu Siraya tribe (Xuejia branch of the Soulang Community). Later, the Han Chinese migrated to Taiwan and settled along the river before moving further inland and developing the area into the Thirteen Villages of Xuejia, hence making Xuejia a Han Chinese settlement. The residents primarily worship Emperor Pao-sheng of Ciji Temple (Level Three Ancient Monument). Religious activities such as the Xuejia Fragrance (a pilgrimage procession) and the Upper White Reef (yezu ceremony) were further developed and became major religious and cultural activities in Tainan City. Moreover, the temple also specially constructed a Koji Pottery Museum to house and preserve works of Koji pottery by Yeh Wang.

Due to its proximity to the sea and higher soil salinity, we mainly specialize in milkfish farming, milkfish fishball production and cultivation of drought-resistant and salt tolerant crops such as sorghum, corn, watermelon and cherry tomatoes. Our line of milkfish products, watermelon and tomatoes are famous throughout the nation, and visitors to Xuejia must try these specialties to make their trip worthwhile.

2. Summary of Our Project

Father Brendan O'Connell was an American from New York City. He became a Maryknoll priest when he was 27 in 1963, and was sent to do missionary in the mountainous areas of Taiwan in the same year. During the arduous missionary journey, Father O'Connell found some mentally disabled not being taken high quality of care and education. Feeling much pity on them, he started getting involved in the exceptional education for the early intervention and integrated education in Taiwan. He set some exceptional education centers in Tainan and Kaohsiung. In 1997, Father O'Connell established Bethlehem Foundation at Syuejia district (the same location of our school), the northwestern part of Tainan City. It was affiliated with Tzumu kindergarten and Babies Child Development Center. Based on the idea of integrated education, these foundations recruited both anthropogeny delayed under 6 years old and preschool normal ones, to let them live and learn together. Father O'Connell devotes himself over fifty years to Taiwan's exceptional education. And Early Intervention and Integrated Education, what he advocates, become the mainstream of Taiwan services for the exceptional education. Although he is eighty, he still stands on the front line for the education. What he intends to do for Taiwan lastly is to raise about eighty million NT dollars to set a center for the early treatment and integrated education.

Thanks to being in the same district where Father O'Connell lives, he becomes a role model for our school students. Therefore, we plan to have personal interviews with him. We try to know his intents and deeds on the exceptional education as well as his expectations on early intervention. This monographic study will conduct questionnaires and have data analysis. The purpose of this study is to know the awareness and feeling of local people about Father O'Connell’s contributions. We expect to make everyone have a better understanding of Father O'Connell and those D.D. Angels …

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

1)Personnel Gathering and Time Arrangement: The school courses have a stable time schedule, and there are no empty time sessions to use. After school, everybody has their own day care classes to take. It is hard to gather everybody. Therefore we can only use lunch breaks and holidays to gather and discuss the structure of the topic, outline of the interview, and to carry out the interview.

2)Interview techniques need more training: The topic of this research is a local art issues, therefore giving a interview in person is a very important experience. Many information has to be obtained through the interview. But to tell the truth, we have no experiences on interview, and do not know what questions should be asked. Focusing on this difficulty, our teacher let us watch a film of a interview conducted by a television host. We discussed the technique and demeanor that needs to be paid attention to during the interview, then we carried out a simulation of the interview. After repeated practicing, when in formal interview, everybody can ask questions orderly, and record quickly as we conduct the interview.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

With long-term residence in Taiwan, Father Brendan O'Connell has already taken himself as a Taiwanese and he hopes to get the identity card. He has land identity and devotes more than half of his life to Taiwan's exceptional education. Thanks to his efforts and contribution, Taiwan’s exceptional children can get better care and appropriate education. Moreover, local people change their attitude from isolating and ignoring the ones to making contact with and respecting them. Father O'Connell's selfless dedication and deeds to those underprivileged is definitely worth learning and recognition.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

The Nine-Year Integrated Curriculum emphasizes creative and active teaching, and uses diversified evaluation methods to inspire the multivariance of the wisdom of the students, and let students of different potential to develop their strengths, and truly reach the goal of ?suitability development?. The project research of this project, brings the students together to go out for on-site survey and interview, breaking the tradition of learning only in the classroom. This also cultivates the ability of solving problems in our actual life. The result should be plentiful! What we truly want is ?knowledge that can brought, and not a school pack that cannot be carried?!

The attending of this research project, not only lets teachers to improve their professional knowledge, but also to develop their strength to guide their students;Children also learn that they have to discuss and negotiate repeatedly to complete this task, and understand the importance of teamwork. This also lets students to transfer from learning passively to aggressively construct knowledge by their own, and fully trying out and cultivating interests and ability.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

Computer,computer software:Data upload, data compilation, webpage production Internet:Various data search including past works of Cyberfair,related book search, inquiry and topic related webpage Digital camera:Photograph taking as image record

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

The school has been implementing homeland education for the last ten years, and has four courses on hometown appreciation with emphasis on content such as introduction to industries and religion. Although these courses are effective, the community has yet to be familiar with its learning outcome. This year, by integrating with Cyberfair, we will conduct thorough surveys, and together with facilitating community awareness through systematic learning and organized outcomes, the study will help spread environmental protection awareness. We hope that through this learning activity, not only will students gain a deeper impression of the subject, but that more community members will also become more motivated and take actions to care for their hometown and protect the environment.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

The research project of Cyberfair is not just a brief introduction but an in-depth investigation. To enrich local history, we join in the Cyberfair, which providing an opportunity to do theme-based community investigation and cultural materials collection. We will present what we have done in the project website. We have done with several research projects in recent years, including Syuejia wetland ecological park, the twelve Pochie folk art performance, an expert in milkfish farming and the pigeon whistle. Research of Father Brendan O’Connell is the fifth puzzle of the whole community investigation. We hope that complete website database can be constructed after several years of research.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

It has been the fifth year for Jhaigang elementary school to work on an independent study in Taiwan School Cyberfair. We mainly focus on our local natural environment, tradition and industry. The topic this time is to introduce a priest, Father Brendan O'Connell, who dedicates his life to the exceptional education. His persistence and insistence on the early intervention and integrated education are a role model and real existence for our students to identify. Through personal interviews and visits, students learn how to care for those underprivileged and carry out the tasks. From this study, we try to inspire the glory of human nature that gradually loses in our society nowadays. This topic not only helps recognize a role model in our local area, but also provides a resource for the teaching of service-learning and character education.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Father Brendan O’Connell has been in Taiwan for more than fifty years. In the recent twenty years, he lives in Syuejia District and even has been elected as president of Syuejia Rotary International. He is a foreigner, but as one of the representatives in Syuejia, he has gained the respect of the locals. Because of Father Brendan, the developmental delays have a proper learning environment.

¦ Because of him, integrating special education students in regular classrooms becomes a normal. Because of him, students with special educational needs can be treated with more compassion and respects by the people of our country.

What Father Brendan O’Connell has done is not a superficial propaganda, but a lifelong devotion. His gradual adoption of special education reverses the traditional concept of a generation and finally creates great value in his life. Through this interview, we realize that doing right things is simple, and that insisting on doing right things our whole life is not hard. Just as Father Brendan does, always lead our lives with optimistic and positive attitudes. There will always be happier where there is a willing mind and a willing hand.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 8243)

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