China through the Eyes of Texas Teachers

Date: 11/30/2010

I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.

~ Mary Anne Radmacher
China through the Eyes of Texas Teachers workshop will feature curriculum units developed by Texas social studies and Mandarin language teachers as a result of summer 2010 immersion experience in China during a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Seminar: “China: The Place and the Peoples”. Teachers from across Texas will gather at the Texas A&M Woodlands campus on December 11 to receive seven continuing professional education hours and benefit from the experience of their colleagues.
The thirteen participants will deliver curriculum on geography, history, culture, philosophy and politics, and the future based on the on-the-ground education they received and their own unique experience over the thirty-one days they spent in China.
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program, Texas A&M University provided this immersion experience in Chinese culture. The Fulbright-Hays grant requires participants to share their experiences and new knowledge about Chinese history and culture with educators across the state. Teachers who attend the workshop will be given a copy all lesson plans, plus supporting materials, which will give them the opportunity to teach about China in new and exciting ways. The cost of the workshop is only $25, which includes a continental breakfast and a box lunch. Seven hours of CPE/GT credit will be offered.
On May 31, 2010, 13 Texas middle and high school social studies teachers boarded a plane in Houston. When they landed in Beijing nearly 19 hours later hours later, they had crossed not only the boundaries of time and space, but also the borders of culture, history, personality, education and terrain. The experience transformed them as teachers, learners and people. Five weeks on the other side of the world, as participants in the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad China Seminar, had given them a new appreciation of both home and host countries, new tools and techniques to bring to the classroom, and knowledge of themselves and others as cultural beings.
The overarching goal of the China seminar was to develop educators’ intercultural competence and enhance social studies curriculum and instruction on China in middle and high school classrooms in the Texas. The seminar provide opportunities for the participants to acquire first-hand knowledge of the history, culture, language, geography, family structures, religion, education, economics and politics of China and dispel stereotypes and myths they may have learned previously.
Motivating teacher participants to broaden their knowledge in their specialty areas as they experienced the richness and variety of real life in China was the aim of the seminar. As a result of this immersion experience, they will design and implement curricula that are more accurate in content and more effective in pedagogy. More importantly, such impact will go beyond their own classrooms because they will disseminate the curriculum and learning resources to a larger educational community through professional development workshops, presentations at conferences and the Internet.
The Fulbright-Hays Group Seminar Abroad was developed by the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, in conjunction with the Institute for Pacific Asia and the Office of International Outreach at Texas A&M University, the Texas Educational Agency, the Texas Council for the Social Studies, and in China, the National Association of Educational & Administration. The seminar was lead by Dr. Lynne Walters, Department of Teaching Learning and Culture and Martha Green, Office of International Outreach.
The China Seminar, as organized by the National Academy of Educational Administration in Beijing, consisted of classroom and field experiences, cultural tours, observation of teaching processes, presentations by experts in some aspect of Chinese life, and small group discussions comparing schools and curricula in Texas and China. The itinerary took the 13 American teachers and their two leaders from Texas A&M University, Dr. Lynne Walters and Martha Green, to cities across China: Beijing, Kunming, Nanjing, Shanghai, Lijiang , Shangri-la and Huhehot. They came in contact with dominant and minority ethnic groups, many of whom are largely unknown in the U.S.


2010 > November > China through the Eyes of Texas Teachers