CCEC is celebrating the successful conclusion of our 2016 summer session. Over the course of the month of July , CCEC sent 38 American teaching professionals and those teachers, in turn, touched the lives of over 3,000 Chinese students, teachers, and school administrators in six cities.
After receiving some last minute instructions and updates at CCEC’s China headquarters in Beijing at the beginning of July, teams of teachers fanned out to schools scattered throughout the Hebei province. Once in place, they began to teach English classes to Chinese students and also to give local educators the the opportunity to absorb American pedagogical techniques.
This July marks the fifth year of CCEC sponsored summer session and the first time we introduced our “Teach your Passion" program.
For the second time, CCEC's education delegation was separated into two parts: the first group consisted of American elementary, middle, and high-school teachers tasked with running English immersion summer-camps catering to young students in the Hebei province; the second was a coterie of professors and experienced American educators who specialized in American teaching methodologies. In the end, the instruction definitely went both ways.
Douglas Jackson, Senior Instructor of Spanish at USC Upstate, joined CCEC for his second summer this year. Jackson, a veteran of overseas English language instruction who trained as an ESL teacher in the Peace Corp before beginning his career in academia, knows that the hardest part about starting up a fresh session is building rapport with students in a relatively short time.
His session in Handan opened with a rocky start. A summer flood wreaked havoc on local public transportation, delaying most other American teachers and leaving Jackson empty-handed outside of empty classrooms in front of a group of expectant students.
Rather than just keep the growing crowd waiting and chatting, Jackson decided to begin the lesson in the most gripping way he could think of.
"Another teacher and I put on our flip-flops, waded through the water, and just put on an improv comedy show right there in the hallway. “ said Jackson, adding that it was the best introduction to a group of students he could possibly have hoped for. “ A lot of them got the opportunity to meet me first and immediately people thought 'Wow this guy is entertaining, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to listen to what he had to say. ' "
Going forward, Jackson concluded, his Handan class included some of the most "high-output, high-productivity students" that he has encountered in his twenty-five years of teaching in the US and abroad.
Like the jokes it produced, Jackson's approach on that rain-soaked first day was improvised, but he was actually putting innovative teaching techniques into practice. While Douglas Jackson was making use of improv to bond and break the ice with his students, CCEC was convening a conference in Beijing to discuss how to break down rigid educational hierarchies and build an academic ecosystem defined by just that kind of uncommon thinking.
The 2016 summer session culminated with a series of lectures and seminars on American Teaching methodologies in Beijing. The lecture series spanned two days, a dozen subjects , and three locations in the Chinese capital, garnering audiences of more than a thousand people. This year’s Keynote address was delivered by Dr. B. Lee Hurren, Dean of the School of Education at USC Upstate. He delivered an appropriately light-hearted talk, a condensed version of his acclaimed 2010 book “Humor in School is Serious Business: Why Humor Belongs in Every Classroom and How to Get It into Yours. “
CCEC is immensely proud of the accomplishments achieved by teachers and students alike by the close of this year’s exchange program and we plan to continue their success for many years to come.