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Foreign teaching starts young in Qingdao

By Xie Chuanjiao in Qingdao, Shandong ( China Daily )

Updated: 2015-12-28

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Foreign teaching starts young in Qingdao

Marina Alekseera, a teacher from the United States, shows her students how to paint a Christmas tree at theWenchanglu Primary School in Qingdao, Shandong province, this month. Liu Jun / For China Daily

Second-grader Pan Siyue always looks forward eagerly to Thursdays, as that is the day for lessons in international understanding.

But last week was special. Christmas was coming, and Siyue's teacher, Marina Alekseera from the United States, had promised to teach the students about holiday traditions and sing Christmas carols.

"Foreign teachers are different from Chinese in teaching style," said Pan, a student at Wenchanglu Primary School in the Licang district of Qingdao, Shandong province. "I feel more at ease during Marina's classes, and I can also learn interesting things about foreign countries."

Alekseera came to Licang as part of the district's international education program with foreign schools.

The district has made efforts in recent years to connect with foreign schools and has invited foreign teachers to teach classes part-time.

In October, a delegation of education officials and the headmasters of several primary and middle schools in the United Kingdom visited Licang and inked memorandums of understanding with seven primary and middle schools. The delegation was led by the Confucius Institute at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK.

It was the first large-scale international connection with foreign schools in Licang.

Alekseera, 27, started teaching in Licang four months ago. She said she liked to communicate with Chinese children.

"I hope children can learn Western customs and traditions through some simple interactions in class," she said.

Besides inviting foreign teachers, the district also dispatched Chinese teachers to receive training at foreign schools. It set up an international education exchange center to be in charge of international programs.

Han Chuande, head of the Licang education bureau, said the district aims to integrate international understanding into its school culture.

"The international understanding class helps students broaden their vision as small citizens in a new era," he said.

Parents in Licang have high praise for the effort.

Wang Qi, mother of a first-grader, said it is always a good thing for students to learn some foreign culture at an early age.

"This is good for their future," she said.