Cornwall - Oct. 25, 2011 - Two international teachers are visiting Upper Canada District School Board schools in Cornwall to observe teaching practices and gain some ideas to bring back and use in their schools.
Eileen Huang is a teacher from China who has spent the last few weeks at St. Lawrence Secondary School (SLSS), while Gracie Zhang, also from China, has spent the last few weeks at East Front Public School. Next month, both teachers will go to a different school and will be returning home on January 20.
Eileen has been shadowing many teachers at SLSS, including Jill Grant who teaches English as a Second Language classes.
“I can learn a lot from her,” Eileen said. “She is a very creative, patient teacher.”
Eileen and Gracie are both English teachers at a private school called Suzhou International Foreign Language School (SIFLS). Since students live at the school, the school day structure is much different than it is in Canada. The junior middle school students - those in grades 7-9 - take four classes from 7:40 - 11:30 a.m., and then four classes between 1:30 - 5:00 p.m. After dinner, students spend from two and a half hours to over three hours studying and doing homework. The Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education and Training and SIFLS worked together to facilitate this teacher exchange.
In addition, students at SIFLS don’t get to choose elective courses. They are required to take all subjects and pass each of the exams. If they don’t pass the exams, they can’t get into university or college.
“In China, when I teach English, we pay more attention to the way of teaching,” she said. “Here, teachers pay more attention to the students’ abilities.”
Eileen said the principal at her school encourages professional development and encourages teachers to spend time at schools in different countries to improve their English skills and learn how other teachers teach English.
“He hopes we can have more cooperation between our school and the schools here,” she said. “If we can share with each other that would be great.”
Eileen already has some ideas to bring back to her school, including writing down English words she’s learned.
“I don’t have enough English words,” she said. “When I go back, I must add more English words to lessons.”
Eileen hopes to gain more ideas during the rest of her time in Canada.
“I hope I can listen to more teachers’ classes,” she said. “Each teacher is different. Each has advantages.”
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