June 21-July 7, 2006
In 2006, the U.S. - China Policy Foundation
completed a pilot program that sent nine teachers to China to study
the education system as well as Chinese history and culture. This
first of its kind program, the American Teachers Delegation, began
in summer 2005 by bringing together a group of high school teachers
from several independent schools in the Washington, D.C. area for
a two-week intensive workshop followed by a two-week trip to China
this summer to experience what they had learned first-hand.
American Teachers Delegation 2006
First row: Jacqueline Grazette, Liz Angney, Dr. Ernestine
Wang, Maggie Kozicharow, Diane Marimow, Kelsey Strampe
Second row: Ken Okoth, Mark Grazette, Leonard King, Michael Woodring
The two-week workshop last summer
focused on two important tasks. First, it provided teachers who teach
courses on history, art, geography and others relating to China an
opportunity to explore more in depth China's rich historical and cultural
traditions. Second, the workshop sought to stimulate discussions and
to help the participants formulate strategies and materials for teaching
about China in their own classrooms here in the U.S. The workshop
accomplished these goals through lectures, films, discussions and
field trips focused on China.
In late June 2006 eight of the nine
teachers reconvened in Washington, D.C. for their trip to China. The
teachers spent two weeks traveling to Beijing, Xian and Shanghai where
they met with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Education, toured
local schools, met with local teachers and well-known university professors
and scholars and visited several important cultural sites.
The Delegation visiting the Forbidden City
While in Beijing, Mr. Wang Dinghua,
Section Chief of the Department of Basic Education, and Mr. Tang Jingwei,
Section Chief of the Training Division of the Department of Normal
Schools, both from the Chinese Ministry of Education, gave the delegation
a brief introduction to the Chinese basic education system. Along
with visits to the No. 80 Middle School (A key school), Beijing Normal
University, Qianmen Foreign Language School, and the Chongwen District
Institute of Education the teachers gained valuable insight into understanding
the education system in China both on the local and national levels.
While in Beijing, the delegation also
visited the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language,
or Hanban, a nongovernmental organization which is funded by the Chinese
government. The teachers were treated to a special demonstration of
Hanban’s new computer software for teaching the Chinese lanuage
to non-native speakers.
During their time in Xian, the delegation
visited Xian Jiaotong University’s middle school, where they
were treated to several short performances by the local students.
Following the performances, the teachers had an opportunity to meet
with groups of students to discuss the students' educational experiences.
With just four days left in China,
the delegation traveled to its last destination, Shanghai. There,
the delegation met with Professor Shen Dingli, Director of the Center
for American Studies at Fudan University, and opened a dialogue with
Professor Shen on issues dealing with U.S. - China relations.
American Teachers Delegation at No. 80 Middle
Along with educational meetings and
visits to local schools, the teachers also were given opportunities
to tour well-known cultural sites to see for themselves what they
teach their students about China. In Beijing, the delegation visited
important sites such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the
Summer Palace. While in Xian they saw the Terracotta warriors and
the Xian City Wall. In Shanghai they explored the Bund, Yu Garden,
the Oriental Pearl Tower and took a cruise down the Huangpu river.
In all three cities the teachers spent time at various museums to
expand their knowledge of Chinese history, art and culture.
Having visited China to see it first-hand,
the teachers felt better equipped to return to their classrooms in
the U.S. to teach about China and to share all of their wonderful