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Thirty Educators from China Study Best Practices at the Mount
This summer thirty educators from Shenzhen, China arrived in New York City at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. For eight weeks they participated in the Shenzhen teacher Training Program, a series of courses specially designed by the College for the visitors through the new Center for International Teacher Training. The teachers studied the concepts, practices, institutions, policies, and learning strategies embedded within the educational systems of the United States, and put those concepts into practice back in China. From a land where Google and Wikipedia are censored and where journalists are regularly jailed, these teachers were traveling to New York City to learn how Americans teach creatively.  

Edward Meyer, Dean of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies is enthusiastic about the new Center. “The College of Mount Saint Vincent has long been a provider of professional training and educational credentialing for its graduates entering the teaching profession in schools throughout the New York metropolitan area. Through global partnerships, like this one between the College and the City of Shenzhen, China, we can establish professional and educational alliances worldwide.”  

The Shenzhen educators visited many schools during their stay including Flushing High School in Queens, NY, PS/MS 37 - The Multiple Intelligences School, and PS 24 - Spuyten Duyvil School in the Bronx. Participants in the program lived on campus, studied on a full-time basis, worked alongside experienced faculty members from the College, and engaged in a wide variety of school “learning walks” at area public schools. These unique “learning walks” were arranged in cooperation with the schools
themselves, the Board of Education of the City of New York, and the United Federation of Teachers. The teachers could also be seen traveling together on campus from Spellman dining hall to the Administration building for classes and back to their dorm rooms in Mastronardi Residence Hall. 

Shenzhen, China is remarkable in that 10 years ago it had a relatively small population of 20,000. The thriving city now has over 7 million residents and is growing. Located across the Shenzhen River from Hong Kong, it is considered the fastest growing city in the world. Because of its new reputation as a thriving metropolis, Shenzhen has been dubbed Little Manhattan. This astonishing growth in Shenzhen and throughout China has spurred a need to reform their educational system, and they are looking abroad for those reforms. Said Jiang Lu, a Shenzhen high school principal, “Education in China is undergoing a big reform. We want to learn from the western educational system, we see a lot of usable elements. Our population growth is large, over 1.4 billion and growing. We must learn best practices to make ends meet.” 

The educators were sponsored by the Shenzhen Education Bureau, a government agency in China, which regularly sends teachers abroad to study best practices in teaching from developed and developing countries. Some of the teachers have participated in similar programs in Austria and India. This year’s teachers have already returned to China prepared to share what they learned here this summer, and another group has already arrived. The new Center for International Teacher Training will continue to flourish with new groups from different countries each year.   

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