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Elite Teachers From Beijing New Oriental School Complete Professional Training at Teachers College, Columbia University

Date:2013-12-4   Author:   From:IESC

November 10th, 2013. Thirty-four teachers from Beijing New Oriental School (BJNOS) — the largest private tutorial school in China—completed their 14-day Elite Teachers Professional Development Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. This is the fifth year that BJNOS has collaborated with IESC to organize its professional development (PD) program in the US. 

The program followed principles of adult learning and offered a variety of topics that aimed to broaden teachers’ career perspectives. This year, the program included traditional topics: Comparison between China and U.S. Education System, David Kolb’s Learning Style Theory, Negotiation Skills, as well as new topics: English Poetry and Politics, Evidence-based Teaching and Context-based Second Language Acquisition. Program topics are customized for BJNOS since most participants are teachers of foreign language in China. 

During the training teachers showed great interest in their learning. In the Negotiation Skills class on the second-day afternoon, teachers were divided into small groups to practice a negotiation simulation that gave the teachers a chance to practice the theory learned in the morning. "I enjoyed this kind of exercise very much, it allows me to interact with my teammates, while digesting the theory we have learned earlier" said program participate Miss Duan, commenting about the course. In the English Poetry and Politics course students were asked to write poetry on social issues at home and abroad. Teachers that had never written poetry before had an opportunity to participate and express their voices in the class. More than one third of the class passionately shared their poetry. The class ended with rounds of applause, with peers acknowledging each other’s effort in trying to do their best.

As part of the program design, IESC also arranged the BJNOS’ teachers to visit Harrison High School, a public high school located in a suburb just north of New York City. Michael Greenfield, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction from Harrison School District, extended a warm welcome to BJNOS teachers with an introduction of the school and the curriculum Harrison offers to its students. BJNOS teachers observed two periods of classes of their choice, followed by group a discussion to share their reflections and learning with their peers and teachers from Harrison. Mr. Liu from BJNOS shared his opinion of his class observation, "to be able to observe how classes were conducted in the real classroom setting is very beneficial to us, especially having already learned the difference between the two educational systems in the previous training session." A number of Harrison teachers also expressed their appreciation for such an exchange opportunity, hearing from their colleagues from China regarding the Chinese teaching philosophy, methods, teacher’s workload, and the Chinese school’s daily schedule.

Several excursions to historical cities such as Boston, New Haven, Washington D.C. were embedded in the overall program so that teachers may have a fuller experience of the U.S. culture. Led by experienced group leaders from IESC, teachers visited a number of universities on the East coast, various sites and museums in New York City, and an historical walk in downtown Boston. 

The Elite Teacher PD program concluded with high morale and enthusiasm. The teachers celebrated their farewell on the last day of the program with a party that included great music, laughter, and songs. 

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