Today was our first professional session. It was a seminar format with 8 Chinese science educators who represented the China Association of Children’s Science Instructors (Like our NSTA), the China Research Institute for Science Popularization, the Youth’s Science and Technology Museum, and Beijing Normal University. The focus topics were professional development for teachers, STEM education and environmental education.
I participated on the panel to share about STEM initiatives. They were very interested in the Corridor Stem Initiative in Iowa. It was interesting to me to hear how they are concerned with many of the same issues we are in the states. I guess I thought they might be more complacent since they lead the world in so many STEM areas. They are trying to promote the popularization of science through a national initiative. It stresses innovation, thinking and solving authentic problems, and creativity and especially targets the rural kids.
The whole process of working with an interpreter was a new one for me. When I was speaking during the panel, it was a little hard to maintain my train of thought, while I spoke, then paused for the interpreter, then spoke etc. I was amazed at how our guide would listen to the speakers, take some notes while they spoke and then in a matter of seconds would translate!
Tomorrow we visit the campus of the Beijing Normal University as well as their Primary Experiemental School where we will observe a classroom. Our leader today said we’d be observing in a similar way as the Japanese Lesson Study model, so I am very interested in that. Stay Tuned!