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Latest China Faculty Institute Posts
Back on the ground in the US of A, I cannot believe all that we learned and experienced in our one week in Taipei.
I think I speak for the group in saying how deeply we appreciated Chingshin’s care in hosting us. Our visiting schedule, with all its different classroom observations and meetings for rotating subsets of our large group, was a work of creative genius. Several of Chingshin’s administrators and staff devoted large chunks of the week to helping us navigate it! They spoiled us daily, even hourly, with little pastries; I fear that, especially in those early jetlagged days, we may have necessitated an extra order of supplies for their coffee machine. And on top of all that, they granted us truly incredible access to their school. We spent upwards of 20 hours within the walls of Chingshin, observing classes and conversing with teachers and administrators. We all agreed: never have we walked away from a school visit with such a sense of both what a school is all about and what that looks like in practice.
I was truly impressed, if unsurprised, with all that my colleagues gained from our time at Chingshin. Many rides on the MRT and dinner conversations became vehicles for wresting with reflections on the day’s activities. We hope to share soon with all our colleagues at CAIS some of our main observations and takeaways— stay tuned.
Special shout-outs are called for here for Teresa, Ena and ChiChi for showing us around and teaching us about where they’re from. With them, we wandered the best night markets (none of those tourist traps) and ate all the best versions of the best street snacks. They taught us to use public transit, then put some of... » read more
As a math teacher, Ms. MacLeod recognizes the efficient wisdom of the equation “a picture equals 1,000 words” and therefore shares the following:
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“How do you get your students to speak Chinese in Chinese class” asks an English teacher, launching us into a conversation about motivating projects involving design thinking, what it means for the language of play to be different than the instructional language, and how well the Chingshin students monitor their group discussions and remind their peers to speak English. In our closing meeting, the teachers are all at once envious of our class sizes and in awe that our teachers work with two groups of students each day in the lower school. Cristina and Kaicy share the rationale behind the lessons they demonstrated and the teachers give wholehearted compliments and share what they will be implementing after observing our teachers. We leave the meeting with handshakes, hugs and exchanged business cards. We walk out the gate as a team commenting how never in our collectively well-traveled lives have we had such complete access to a school in another country, such a wide range of lessons to observe, and such open, honest dialogue. This kind of experience is not one that can be purchased from a travel agent. We walk away feeling gratitude to our colleagues at Chingshin, who put together a carefully planned itinerary answering all of our key questions, who overfed us, who—like a visit to your parents’ house—anticipated our needs before we knew that we had them.
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Our Wednesday in Taipei began with a very special treat, thanks to Theresa and ChiChi. We skipped the hotel offerings and set out to experience a genuine Taiwanese breakfast that featured sweet soy milk, turnip cakes, various delicious treats and something best described as a Taiwanese version of a churro. The deep fryer was doing double duty today!
We had a short day of observations before the noon bell, and we divided into various smaller groups. One high minded group, headed by Ena, made our way to the Palace Museum to view a fraction of their amazing collection drawn from the breadth of Chinese history, art and culture. Perhaps as an antidote to all this refined experience, the younger members of this sub group headed out to another night market for treats and shopping. I think they just couldn’t get enough stinky fermented tofu.
The senior member of this sub group was feeling his age, and ended up in his hotel room watching a raucous debate on television. Judging by this experience, democracy is alive and well in Taiwan. And loud.
While the aforementioned group was soaking up centuries of culture, another group was simply soaking—in the literal sense. We expect that their day at the hot spring left them peaceful and serene.
One experience we ALL shared was getting soaked by our first torrential downpour!
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We have found the schedule our Chingshin friends created for us to be extremely thoughtful and comprehensive. There is a true spirit of collaboration permeating our visit. Many, many teachers have opened their classrooms to us and we have had a chance to speak with a wide variety of educators. They are keeping us busy but also very well fed! In between observations and conversations, we are greeted with beautiful and delicious treats, many of them baked in Chingshin’s very own kitchen. Last night, we were treated to an amazing ten course meal at one of Principal Tang Shangzhi’s favorite restaurants. Here is a taste of day 2 in pictures:
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The CAIS crew had a wonderful first day visiting our new friends at Chingshin! In the morning, we had the opportunity to learn about the school’s curriculum and program and get a tour of the school, visiting the health education area (which included models of street crosswalk, elevators, and even a mini-apartment so students could practice putting their skills to use), an open-air flexible music space, a rooftop walking path through an edible garden (reserved for the 9th graders who experience the most pressure for HS exams, as a calming space), and the open learning area (another flexible space where teachers set up various centers for students to reinforce, apply, or preview skills in their classroom curriculum), where we were able to watch and participate in a 2nd grade class. Some great conversations arose about how a school’s space reflects and impacts learning, and we were eager to pick the brains of the Chingshin faculty and admin. We had the opportunity to do this over lunch, and judging by the spirited conversations around the table, we are in for a wonderful week of learning ahead. CAIS and Chingshin faculty certainly hit it off, and we had much to talk about!
After observing two more classes and wrapping up our day at Chingshin, a battle of will with jetlag set in for many of us. But we decided to fight through and do what all good Taiwanese tourists do— eat at Din Tai Fung! Our Taiwanese experts, Chichi and... » read more
Excitement ran high on Saturday morning as the 11 participants in this year’s program arrived to the SFO international departures area. We chased the sun across the Pacific to arrive with the evening to Taipei on Sunday. In the cab on the way to our hotel, Teresa and the driver swapped food recommendations, and I got a soild lesson in regional specilalties. In fact, we talked about food the entire way into the city, and as you may know, there’s some distance to cover between Taoyuan airport and downtown. But by the time we finally arrived, it was clear from 11 jetlagged faces that all those regional specialties would have to wait until tomorrow.
Today, we look forward to our first visit to Chingshin school, and, of course, to food.» read more
Participants in the second China Faculty Institute (CFI) trip, this year an educator exchange with Chingshin Elementary and Middle School, include (left to right):
- Anna Donnelly, Assistant Lower School Director
- Xiaohong (Lucy) Sui, 4th Grade Chinese Teacher
- Jack Crow, 4th Grade English Teacher
- Anne Valentino, Lower School Director
- Ping Xue,Pre-K Chinese Teacher
- Ena Chen 陈盈蓉, Chinese Learning Specialist
- ChiChi Su 蘇筱琦, 2nd Grade Chinese Teacher
- Jing-Tyng (Teresa) Shyu 徐静婷, 2nd/3rd Grade Chinese Teacher
- Emma Loizeaux 路爱玛, International Learning Coordinator
- Kaicy MacLeod 麦晟楠, 7th/8th Grade Math Teacher (English)
- Cristina Calcagno, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and PD (English)
Happy travels and we look forward to following along on your journey on these pages!» read more
As part of the ongoing China Faculty Institute program created by the ShowCAIS 2014 Fund-A-Need, CAIS is sending a team of 11 teachers and staff for one week over the February break to Taipei. The trip will include a multi-day visit to Chingshin Elementary and Middle School（靜心國民中小學), learning from teachers and administrators about the school’s dual-language immersion curriculum and observing classes. Participants will then explore Taipei to learn about Taiwanese culture and daily life.
Chingshin Elementary and Middle School is a Chinese-English dual immersion independent school in Taipei, Taiwan. A delegation from Chingshin visited CAIS in October 2016; the two schools are excited to build their relationship and continue learning from each other through this “CAIS-Chingshin Educator Exchange” program.
Last... » read more