I am sharing this email with you as I miss you all and all the kids immensely. Writing this post to you helps me to remember it will not be long before I am home with all of you again.
It is Wednesday morning here and I am getting ready to go to my 4th day of the conference on the China – Canada reciprocal learning program. It is my goal in the next three days to find a school that Kingsville can be paired with so that we can create some connections with teachers and students from Chongqing, China. I have been listening to researchers and thinkers speak about how the work that the GECDSB has done with the program will impact the global improvement of education. I have learned so much in a short time. The project is a grand project spanning the last 6 years. The Reciprocal Learning Project really grew three years ago when the sister school project was developed. There are 4 layers to the work being done:
1. Student Teachers from both China (Southwest University) and Windsor (UofW) are invited to apply for a 3 month exchange program/practicum that brings them right into classrooms in each other’s schools.
2. Student Teachers from both areas attend each other’s teacher’s colleges for this time. Number 1 and 2 can be called the Teacher Exchange Network.
3. 6 Sister school relationships created pairs of reciprocal learning teams where monthly Skype calls (themed) bring teachers, students, administrators together to learn with, from and about each other. These relationships have attempted to focus in on pedagogical and curriculum based conversations. (ie. Glenwood has focused on Math conversations)
4. Data is collected (qualitative) by Graduate Students, Doctoral students and a team of global researchers and international advisors. The data is analyzed and major papers are written to share the findings with the world. To quote Dr. Ruth Hayhoe “There is no other study, no other project like this, with this scope anywhere in the world. This is ground breaking research.”
The work that has and will be done is under the leadership of Dr. Shijing Xu of the University of Windsor and Dr. Michael Connelly of the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. The project is possible, financially, due to a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Yesterday we gathered in the Shi Yuan Lecture hall and presented our practical observations and feelings about being involved in the project. Researchers were thrilled to hear first-hand the experiences of the Student Teachers and the Principals.
Over the next three days I have the incredible opportunity to visit three schools that were paired with my former school Eastwood Elementary. I am so excited to witness learning first hand in these schools. Tomorrow I visit the Southwest University Experimental Kindergarten Program. This school is on campus and houses 700+ Early Years students primarily parented by the faculty of the University. I look forward to sharing images, quotes and learning from these visits.
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