Intensive ESL (English as a Second Language) faculty members Jan Peterson and Kelly Weibel at Tienanmen Square.
Edmonds Community College Intensive ESL (English as a Second Language) faculty members Jan Peterson and Kelly Weibel led a 10-day workshop for high school English teachers in China in August.
The college received the request to provide training from the Zouping School District in Shandong Province. Peterson and Weibel presented intensive interactive sessions on ESL methods, providing six hours of instruction per day, to 60 English teachers from four local Zouping high schools.
“We’ve taught Chinese students at Edmonds CC or many years, but it was our first time to visit China," Peterson said. "This was a unique opportunity to learn more about the Chinese educational system, to exchange ideas with fellow English teachers, and to experience a bit of Chinese life and culture.”
They learned that Zouping is a relatively small city, yet the high schools each have 6,000–7,000 students living in dormitories on a gated campus. Students have classes from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and then supervised study halls in the evening. No personal cell phones or computers are allowed on campus. Education is clearly the focus and it isn’t free — parents pay tuition.
Weibel and Peterson enjoyed more informal time with local school officials and English teachers in the evenings and were taken on a five-day tour of sites in Shandong and Beijing after the workshops.
“It was wonderful to travel with our Chinese hosts and experience Chinese cultural sites with them. We also went to several places that were off the beaten track for most American tourists—that made it quite special,” Weibel said.