Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chinese Education

Spring Woods Middle School Principal Karen Liska was among 412 U.S. principals, superintendents and administrators who traveled to China recently through a College Board-sponsored program. She visited a variety of schools, from elementary campuses to one of China’s elite colleges, Peking University.
Principal Liska was chosen by the College Board for the overseas educational adventure, which was held Nov. 7-15. A former SBISD Principal of the Year, she has served as principal at Thornwood Elementary, in addition to her current middle school position.
“China was excellent! It was a lifetime experience to actually visit schools in China and talk to students, teachers and administrators,” she said after her trip. “It was amazing to learn that even if we are a half a world apart, as educators we have the same triumphs and challenges – with instruction and preparing kids to be college ready, assisting kids to meet their dreams and futures, and to be technology ready for the world they will face in the future.”
“We also learned that kids are kids no matter what their language or culture. They all want to be texting their friends in class. They worry about their appearance – uniform and all – and they like to be praised for doing good work!”
For these Americans, The College Board trip focused on the Chinese culture, language and education system by visiting Chinese schools and teachers. Setting up school-to-school partnerships or offering Chinese language instruction in U.S. schools were also highlighted during the trip.
Principal Liska’s group of 42 educators, principals and administrators visited the Chinese province of Teinjin, where they also observed and visited schools.
“We visited four schools, including elementary, middle and high schools, and Peking University. There was an educator forum with 30 Chinese principals, 25 Chinese students studying to be teachers, and our group of principals, superintendents and administrators.”
Liska and others also visited and toured cultural touchstones, from the Great Wall of China to Buddhist temples. On Nov. 19, she returned to Spring Woods Middle a wiser and much more traveled principal.


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