Visiting Middle School Classes, Experiencing Chinese Education
—Education Officials from the Confucius Institute at Georgia State University Visit China

[Source]    Confucius Institute at Georgia State University [Time]    2018-07-01 15:07:47 

From June 15th to 24th, under the support of the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the Confucius Institute at Georgia State University sent a delegation of education officials to China for the first time. The event aimed to help US education officials understand China’s contemporary education system and the status quo of Chinese education. At the same time, it will strengthen the cultural exchanges and understanding between the educators from both sides to further promote Chinese language and Chinese culture in the United States. Kimberly Henshaw, Managing Director of the Confucius Institute at Georgia State University, led the delegation, whose members were from Georgia State University, Wesley Academy in Atlanta, Decatur High School, Renfroe Middle School and others.

Group photo of the delegation

During their visit in Beijing, the delegates visited Beijing NO.65 Middle School for teaching observation. They were impressed by the order and discipline of the classroom and the high level of concentration of students. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the status of school-running, the members also exchanged views with the teachers and students there in a bid to acquire insight into their learning and living conditions.

Members of the delegation visiting Beijing NO.65 Middle School

Blair Rostolsky, Head of science teaching at Decatur High School, said that the “balanced” thinking in the classroom inspired her to think about how to balance the relationship between teacher and students in class. Tylor Cross, head of the Decatur High School Genius Education Program, believed that students’ high-level concentration in high school classrooms in China is the prerequisite for them to achieve good academic performance.

In order to allow the delegation to fully experience traditional Chinese culture, the Confucius Institute at Beijing Language and Culture University organized traditional cultural experience activities such as Chinese painting and calligraphy classes and tea art classes. Members had the first-hand experience by writing Chinese characters and drawing ink wash painting. After then, they also tasted tea with Chinese representatives.

Showing ink wash paintings

Tasting tea

On June 19th, the delegation attended a symposium with representatives of the Office of International Cooperation and Exchanges of Beijing Language and Culture University, in which both sides discussed plans for future cooperation projects.

The symposium

On June 20th, the delegation visited the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban). Officials from the Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes extended their warm welcome to the delegation, pointing out the importance of visiting programs for US education officials, and expressing their hope that this trip would help the members of the delegation to better understand the status of education in Beijing and Shanghai.

Members of the delegation visiting Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban)

At the end of the visit, Lynn Bost, a professor from Georgia State University, said: “What impressed me most is the way of the Confucius Institute spreading Chinese language to the rest of the world. It makes me reflect on how English was promoted around the globe back then. Is it possible to spread English and the culture behind it in a more intensive way?”

After experiencing the long history and culture of Beijing, the delegation took the high-speed train to Shanghai, where they visited Lujiazui Financial Center and climbed to the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower to take a panoramic view of the Bund. They were thrilled to witness the soaring development of China which keeps reaching for higher levels.

Members of the delegation exploring Shanghai urban culture

At last, the members of the delegation shared what they had seen and heard and how they felt about this educational visit through group discussion and personal statements, focusing on topics such as “Comparison between Chinese and US Education”, “What Can US Learn from Chinese Education” and “The Experience That Impressed Me Most”.

Laura Gary, head of English teaching at Renfroe Middle School, said: “The most meaningful thing in this visit was the connection between the people I met and the culture I have experienced. I learned a lot through personal communication. I want to continue to establish connections between the two cultures, as well as connections between the people of both sides.”

Education officials from the Confucius Institute at Georgia State University said that they had a direct experience of the secondary education in Beijing and Shanghai, and also a new understanding of China through this visit.

The delegation expressed sincere gratitude to Beijing Language and Culture University for its meticulous organization and hospitality. They said that they will bring these wonderful experiences back to Atlanta to share with their colleagues and students, encouraging more local people to further understand China. They also sincerely thanked the Confucius Institute at Georgia State University for this valuable opportunity to realize their dream of visiting China for exchanges. Moreover, they also believed that educators could enrich their own experience of cultural diversity and bring new changes for classrooms and teaching management through the field trip.