As part of the 180 Days of Giving Back initiative to celebrate Macmillan Education's 180th birthday, the Shanghai team - Christine Zhu, Super Huang, Sherry Wang, Dolores Ding and Peilin Ye – delivered a social-emotional learning class on July 28th. The team spent a meaningful afternoon with migrants children by utilizing Wellies from Learning Well to teach them how to recognize and express emotions. The class was a collaboration with Stepping Stones, a Shanghai-registered non-profit organization, committed to enhancing the education and general welfare of disadvantaged children in China since 2006.

As the leading teacher to plan and organize the class, Super Huang kicked off the session by dividing 20 students, ranging from 6 to 15 years old, into four groups. Rest colleagues also played vital roles as teaching assistants, ensuring an inclusive and impactful experience for students with varied abilities and backgrounds.

To initiate the class on a positive note, each participant was asked to create a name card with Wellies stickers to represent their prevailing emotion of the day, followed by a self-introduction to the group.

Super then employed a series of activities to present the 12 Wellies/emotions to the diverse group of children who exhibited different English levels (most with zero or low English ability) and ages.

The learning journey began with a warm-up song from Learning Well, followed by the introduction of all 12 emotions with Total Physical Response (TPR). Subsequently, “Four Corners” and “What’s missing?” games were utilised to expose the students to the target language in varied ways. Then the students were put into small groups and led by a teaching assistant to practice and review the 12 emotions with flashcards, devising different techniques to remember the words and their corresponding actions.

The highlight of this 90-minute class was a group competition game – acting out the emotion and guessing. All teams participated with great energy and enthusiasm. The champion went to the oldest group led by Sherry and they were ecstatic to claim the well-deserved prize – a Macmillan notebook and pen. The power of incentives in learning was beautifully demonstrated, as every student exhibited motivation when presented with the right level of challenge, alongside well-designed activity.

90 minutes passed quickly and the class came to an end with the last agenda. Christine presented every student with our readers as a gift, encouraging them to cultivate a love for English and fostering a lifelong passion for learning.

Teddy, the Stepping Stones outreach coordinator, gave us very positive feedback. He shared how his 6-year-old daughter underwent a remarkable 180-degree transformation in her attitude towards learning English after attending the class. She went from being disinterested to enthusiastically repeating newly learned words—an undeniable testament to the power of interest as the best teacher. Teddy also expressed how our lovely Wellies and high-quality content design brought inspiration to their SEL class which the syllabus was once abstract.

This noble endeavour not only allowed us to support local disadvantaged children but also allowed us to carry on Macmillan's brother’s commitment to learning, innovation, and doing social good for 180 years. This rare yet heartwarming teaching experience brought us closer to the core of education. Witnessing the profound impact of quality education on lives filled us with pride, reinforcing our dedication to working for Education.