International Partnership: Bridging to Beijing

This week undergraduates from the College of Education are traveling to Beijing, China to complete their student teaching requirement. As they take on the challenge to learn to teach in a classroom abroad, this trip highlights the success of the global initiative in the College. However, this is just one piece of a multi-dimensional partnership that bridges education from Raleigh to Beijing.

“Our partnership with Beijing Royal School is a great example of a comprehensive partnership that includes student teaching abroad, teacher professional development, graduate student recruitment and K-12 student exchanges,” said Dr. Jayne Fleener, Dean of the College of Education. “We are very excited about continuing to enrich our engagements in China through this partnership.”

In 2010, the partnership began with a group of faculty conducting professional development for teachers from the Beijing Royal School (BRS). The New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute has worked with the teachers several times, most recently this month, when they brought the institute to China for a week-long session in Beijing. The Institute brought innovative ideas, collaborative practices and open discussions with dynamic questions about global learning and new literacies in the 21st century to the group.

“Despite cultural differences between teachers in China and the US, both groups share the common goal of providing students with the knowledge, skills, and creative dispositions for success in a rapidly changing world,” said Dr. Hiller Spires, professor of literacy and technology and Friday Institute senior research fellow. “We gained insight about the cultural foundations of learning in China as we shared best practices of American education through the New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute.”

The BRS teachers were introduced to practices and technologies needed to teach in a 21st century classroom. The group reflected on how to integrate new technologies to enhance disciplinary learning and began establishing professional learning communities to support their development as teachers.

This exchange has extended to the Chinese students from the BRS as well. This past February they visited NC State University as part of a tour of U.S. higher education institutions. Students from BRS worked with educators at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and Wake County’s Centennial Campus Middle School in the activities to share and learn about cultural connections. This is the fourth time the College has participated in hosting the students during their trip to the United States.

In addition, student experiences at the graduate level have benefitted from this relationship. Two teachers from BRS came to the United States to complete their masters degrees with NC State University. Chang Yuan and Bian Jing received Masters of Education degrees in New Literacies and Global Learning last year. They have returned to China and currently teach at BRS. Yuan and Jing assisted this month when the New Literacies Institute came to China.

“The various activities we have engaged with BRS have provided unique opportunities to blend native pedagogies and explore common problems. We continued to be amazed at what happens when teachers and students in different cultures collaborate to solve problems and learn from each other,” said Dr. John Lee, associate professor of social studies and middle grades education.

Reaching out to the community, the ties established with BRS allowed Millbrook High School to begin a student exchange program.

The International + Distance Education Alliance (I+DEA) office coordinates distance education and the globalization initiative in the College of Education.

An Impact Abroad:  Teaching in China
Assir Abushouk, senior mathematics education, student taught in China in the Fall of 2012.
Check out a video he made in reflection of his experience:

Original Source: International Partnership: Bridging to Beijing

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