Published: October 12th 2009October 12th 2009
We started the day with a trip to JIE. Dr. Hua presented an overview of the K-12 and college/university systems within the Jiangsu province. He then offered more in-depth information about JIE and how they operate. The undergraduate student curriculum at JIE is comprised of three parts: basic education (including literature, arts, chemistry, math, biology, physics, geography, etc.), science discipline concentration, and teaching. The university enrolls 7200 students/year at its three campuses combined.
Science teachers in China face similar struggles as American teachers. Although the teachers are open to using inquiry-based instruction, they lack time, equipment, and student interest.
The teacher/fellow teams met with JIE faculty and teacher mentors to share the lesson they will teach in a few days. The mentors offered advice on how to incorporate these lesson plans into Chinese middle school classrooms. They also addressed any needs for teaching materials. The group met for lunch on campus, where we were joined by Vice President Zhou.
Dr. Hua and the mentors traveled with us to Wuxi. The city of 6 million people is located two hours southeast of Nanjing. Jon pointed out the massive constrution efforts all across China - they're building every
where - as
the reason why building materials are so expensive in the US.
We made a quick pit stop at our hotel then went to Fu Ren High School, one of the top high schools in Wuxi. This school recently moved to its new location. The $50M campus houses approximately 80% of its 2000 students. Chinese high schools, by the way, are grades 10-12. The head master gave us a brief tour through some of the buildings before taking us to a meeting room. We learned that Fu Ren has 200 teachers, who teach 2-3 classes to allow ample course preparation time. The American teachers were quite jealous! The tuition for Fu Ren is considered affordable for Chinese middle class families at a cost of $200/year. They are quite proud of their famous alumni, who include notable authors and a recent MacArthur award winner.
The Fu Ren representatives and Dr. Hua hosted us for another elaborate dinner showcasing local specialties. Tonight they served red wine that really was wine. Much toasting ensued and Dr. Hua has become very fond of saying, "bottoms up!" My favorite item of the evening was the lotus root, soaked in orange juice and ginger. It
has a crunchy, woody texture. The barbecued pork ribs, crab, steak, and dumplings were also great.
Tomorrow we visit and observe a local middle school.
There are more photos below