2019 Chinese Bridge for American Principals Successfully Held

[Source]    Confucius Institute Headquarters [Time]    2019-11-01 11:48:43 

Spanning from October 21st to 29th, the 2019 Chinese Bridge for American Principals was attended by 172 educational officials and principals form mainstream primary and secondary schools from Washington, D.C and other 28 American states upon invitation. It also marked the first trip to China to many delegates among them.

In the weeklong program, the delegates visited Chongqing, Jilin, Shandong, Henan, Zhejiang and Guangdong respectively in 6 groups. During their stay there, they visited local primary and secondary schools, observed classes, exchanged opinions with local principals and teachers and interacted with students. Local provincial or municipal-level department of education also held lectures on comparing Chinese and American education systems and introducing local basic education as well as cooperation talks for principals from China and US.

Featuring a research platform for international Chinese teaching, Beijing Language and Culture University gave full play to its advantages, organizing various activities for the delegates during their stay in Beijing, such as classroom observation and lectures on Chinese language, foreign languages, business and traditional Chinese culture.

The program has been proven fruitful. The delegates visited 42 Chinese universities, primary and secondary schools in groups and 124 Chinese schools participated in the China-US principals’ meeting, and 160 Memoranda of Understanding were signed, laying a solid foundation for further cooperation and exchanges between schools from the two countries.

There were also four seminars during the delegates’ visit in Beijing themed on Best Practices of Cooperation between China-US Schools, Volunteer Program for Chinese Language Teachers, Chinese Programs in the United States and Integrating AP Chinese and Chinese Culture into Graduation Evaluation of Primary and Secondary Schools in the United States. These seminars were well received among the delegates.

During the visit, the delegates also shared their feelings about the visit. Martin Miller, superintendent of the Antwerp School District in Ohio, said he signed up for the program to gain better understanding of Chinese culture and education system. Bringing Chinese culture to Ohio and local schools where there are few immigrants and foreigners is a great way to help children understand China better. He also said if possible, they would like to recruit more Chinese teachers to Ohio.

Tamara Lynn Berman Ishee, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction of the Wayne Country Public Schools in North Carolina Area, said the trip confirmed some of her stunning impressions of China before the visit and she had learned a lot through the program in the past few days. The delegates saw the lovely children in the school and results of their efforts. Ishee said that she would like to promote more cooperation in education between her region and Nanhai District of Foshan, Guangdong Province, and exchange more experience and practices in education. She also expressed welcome to education practitioners and children from China to the United States for exchange, adding that she appreciated this opportunity of exchange and studying a lot and would cherish every opportunity to know more about China.

Janet Mildred Bowes, Principal of New Jersey Town Central Elementary School, said she had never expecting spending her birthday in Qufu, Shandong Province, the hometown of Confucius. It was very considerate of the staff to prepare a cake for her birthday. It was really an unforgettable experience for her.

James Shun Jen Lin, Principal of McCall High School in Massachusetts, said he could feel the economic development and educational progress in China through his visit, adding that McCall High School is now launching a Chinese language program and would like to establish friendly relationship with schools in Shandong Province. He plans to communicate with Chinese schools online first and bring students to China for exchange within one to two years.

The afternoon of October 29th witnessed the closing ceremony and summary meeting of 2019 Chinese Bridge for American Principals in Beijing Language and Culture University. The ceremony was attended by Zhao Guocheng, Deputy Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Liu Li, President of Beijing Language and Culture University, Gerald Wayne Pope, John Barnhill and Pamela Agoyo, directors of the College Board, as well as Robert Davis, Executive Director of Chinese Language and Culture Program. During the ceremony, US delegates made a comprehensive summary on what they have learned and experienced through the visit to China in the videos and presentations.

According to Zhao Guocheng in his speech, in the midst of unstable and uncertain international situation and increasing global challenges, efforts should be made to promote the development of not only economic and technology but also culture and civilization. As the key to culture, languages can enable us to know about other cultures. Learning each other’s language and understanding the differences of different cultures can help to eliminate barriers and misunderstandings. By doing this, we can also learn from each other’s strengths, inspire our own thinking and enhance innovation and creativity so as to achieve harmony in diversity and common development. The Confucius Institute Headquarters has been working to promote Chinese language teaching on the international stage through various programs, including Confucius Institutes (Classrooms), the Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition, Chinese Bridge Delegation to China and Confucius China Studies Program. It is hoped that education practitioners with international and strategic vision can contribute to the development of Chinese language teaching around the world.

Liu Li said that China and United States should learn from and trust each other so as to promote educational exchanges between the two countries. He also called for exchanges and cooperation in education between the two countries through the Confucius Institute. China and United States should seek common ground, promote mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, and expand the field of cooperation in education. The two countries should also seize the opportunity and rise to challenges together to write a new chapter in education exchanges. President Liu concluded his speech with a remark that great rivers will eventually flow to the sea no matter how many twists and turns they would go through. Similarly, as long as China and the United States join hands and proceed in the right direction with strong determination, sound exchanges and cooperation in education between the two countries will surely be achieved.

Robert Davis, Executive Director of the College Board’s Chinese Language and Culture program, said the Chinese Bridge for American Principals is very meaningful in that it establishes a bridge of communication and understanding between Chinese and American schools and people. During the program, he received many positive feedbacks from the delegates. He believed that the delegates would share what they had seen and heard in China with their families, colleagues and friends after they returned home, and actively work to promote the implementation of fruits of the visit and carry out exchanges with Chinese schools.

As an event cooperatively held by the Confucius Institute Headquarter sand the College Board, the Chinese Bridge for American Principals aims to deepening comprehensive understanding of Chinese education system and culture among American educators and promoting Chinese language teaching in the United States. Up till now, nearly 6,000 American educational officials have visited China through the program.