A group of education students gained an unique experience this summer in China, taking Western teaching methods to another culture to make learning more intriguing.
As part of their academic career plan, nine education students traveled to China for five weeks in July to teach at the International Academy of Beijing, the only accredited Christian international school in the country’s capital. The program provides an opportunity for native English speakers to interact with students from several different international schools who don’t speak English as their first language. This is the fourth year for ACU to send students to teach in China.
“I was very excited to get to tour China, learn about the culture, and learn how to live for five weeks in a foreign country,” said Melanie Catteau, senior education major from Denton. “My brothers are also adopted from China, and I had the opportunity to go to China 8 years ago. I was very excited to go back and see it again for a longer period of time and a more authentic experience.”
Dr. Sam Stewart, assistant professor of education, took the group of students. He said teaching in China offers a unique opportunity for students to explore their career. Catteau agreed.
“I thought it would be an amazing experience to get to have my own classroom for four weeks,” she said.
ACU education students worked to make school engaging and attractive to students. The teaching and learning methods amazed parents from a different culture, Stewart said.
“I particularly had one parent I visited with who was really concerned that his child liked school so much, wanted to come to school,” Stewart said. “He just couldn’t understand why his son could have so much fun and still be learning.”
Not only did the students enjoy the process, but the teachers did also. Susanna Dietz, senior elementary education major, recalled reading the book Pickles to Pittsburgh to the international school students.
“It was actually a spontaneous activity when the day ended up not working like I thought it would,” she said. “I grabbed the book off my shelf just to fill some time, but we ended up having a great time together. The students were incredibly engaged and even made connections to a previous book we had read. Even my students who typically were less inclined to actively participate in activities were joining into discussions and having a good time.”
While they were there, the education students took a train trip to the city of Xi`an, climbed the Great Wall of China and visited the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City.
“I also loved talking to them about the differences between our cultures,” Catteau said. “It was so amazing to get to see the history of a beautiful foreign country.”
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