International Impact through English Language Education

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: October 23, 2013

For the second year in a row, a group of high school English teachers from Hangzhou, China have traveled to Texas A&M University for the opportunity to participate in a professional development and cultural exchange program hosted by the department of Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC) in the College of Education and Human Development, in collaboration with the Hangzhou Education Bureau in China.

Led by TLAC department head, Dr. Yeping Li, the goal of the program is to provide the teachers with cutting-edge knowledge in English language education including teaching techniques and curriculum they can later share and implement in their classrooms back home. The Education Bureau, through an education quality improvement initiative to improve teaching knowledge and strategies, is organizing and sponsoring their visit.

Building on the success of the inaugural program in 2012, this year 24 teachers were selected from key high schools by the Education Bureau from the Chinese region that has 80,000 K-12 teachers. This group of carefully selected teachers will participate in a three-week professional development program that includes one week of on campus lectures focused on theory and principles of teaching English, followed by two weeks of field observation in Bryan-College Station area high schools.

The group will also visit a Houston area high school, which more closely resembles the population and environment of their hometown, Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang province.

“For their visit this year, we combined some topics in theory and practice but also decided to have the teachers visit a high school in Houston, because it is more comparable in school context to those they have been teaching in China,” said Li. “It is important for them to gain a contextual understanding as well.”

Dr. Douglas Palmer, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and co-director of the program, recognizes the international impact that the program provides. “The program is a direct reflection of the active engagement that is necessary to make an international impact,” said Palmer. “Within the college, several faculty have expertise in training teachers of English language learners, so for them this is an opportunity of applied outreach. In addition, the teachers from China also contribute to the experience by providing a cultural exchange with their shared experiences.”

 With the success of the program last year and a positive outlook for this year’s program, attendees and group leaders expressed their interest in expanding and continuing the program for many years to come.