The university will continue building relationships in China with another trip to the country this summer.
Since 2007, teams consisting of university teachers and students and area instructors have been traveling to Doumen, China to train Chinese educators. Last summer, teams traveled to new locations in China to assist with English camps for Chinese students and a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program for Chinese educators.
“The typical teaching format for Chinese English classes is a lecture style with a lot of memorization by the students,” said junior Luke McConnell, a student member from last year’s team. “That is partially why our English camps are so much fun for the students. We don’t lecture the kids on English. We help them to use it in everyday settings.”
The desire for quality English education in China is great, he said. The schools are willing to pay the team’s expenses to come conduct camps.
“What we are finding is that there is enough money in China that we don’t have to give training away as charity,” Luke Fetters, director for the Institute of TESOL Studies, said. “In fact they value it more if they see us as we are, as a legitimate professional training resource.”
The Chinese teachers are very eager to learn new approaches to teaching English from the Huntington teams, he said.
“The value of respecting authority is extremely important, so for a Chinese person to learn from an expert is an honor, and the expert is treated with a lot of respect,” said senior Brittany Blazier, an assistant trainer from last year.
Senior Hillary Pulse was a member of last year’s team that worked with 30 Chinese teachers.
“The teachers were all older than me, with more education and far more teaching experience, yet they were all incredibly eager to learn from me and the other Americans,” she said. “I was very humbled by the respect they showed me and thoroughly impressed by the effort they put into learning.”
This summer’s team members will not only earn practicum credit, but they will also receive a stipend in addition to the trip being paid for – all at no cost to the university.
“We have about seven programs,” Fetters said. “[With] all of these programs together, we’re going to need 52 people to go with us. It’s been a lot of fun to see God provide really high quality people and trainers to go with us. Of those 52, we need about 20 university students.”
Fetters said applications to be on the trip would be reviewed before the end of March. The following qualities were considered – education and TESOL credentials, comfort talking about faith and culture and the needs of the individual teams.
This summer, there will be different teams with separate focuses. One team will be instructing Chinese educators at three different locations for two weeks at a time, making for a six-week tour in China, while another team will be doing camps for preschool teachers and children.
Fetters traveled to China over spring break with university president, Sherilyn Emberton, and Shoshannah McKinney, associate director for the Institute of TESOL Studies, to finalize the contracts with the schools.