College hosts Capital Normal University students

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) College of Education hosted a group of students from Capital Normal University.

College hosts Capital Normal University students

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) College of Education hosted a group of students from Capital Normal University.

SASKATOON – With a shared goal to prepare exceptional teachers, the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) has partnered with Capital Normal University in China for the 2018 International Teacher Development Program—Summer Course.

The International Teacher Development Program is a U of S College of Education program that offers students from key university partners around the world the opportunity to study in a Canadian U15 research-intensive university within a condensed period of time. Advancing both the College’s Strategic Plan 2025 as well as the University of Saskatchewan’s International Blueprint, in 2018, the course ran five weeks with 30 students from Beijing’s Capital Normal University.

The program includes four weeks of undergraduate university classroom study with courses from the departments of Curriculum Studies and Educational Administration in the College of Education, followed by a week of elementary and secondary school classroom observations. The students arrived on the U of S campus August 11.

“Our shared goal with our colleagues at Capital Normal is to facilitate the preparation of exceptional teachers, flush with many and varied tools that support the learning needs of all children,” said David Burgess, College of Education, associate dean of research, graduate support, and international initiatives. “We believe their participation in this International Teacher Development Program will advance the students’ competence, skill, and experience as a teacher. We hope the students will incorporate insights and methods learned while in Saskatchewan when they return home to China.”

In collaboration with the Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit (SELU), the 2018 program will specifically expose students to a leading foreign institution, facilitate interaction and networking with academics, school teachers, administrators and policy makers, and provide an English immersion opportunity during homestay with local families.

“Any time you can interact with someone outside of your current context you will benefit,” said Jay Wilson, Curriculum Studies department head and one the instructors working with the group.  “Developing intercultural competence is key for the visiting students but it also has a significant impact on our work at the College. When we reflect on our practice and programming to share it with visitors we improve what we do for our regular program students. It makes our instructors better and our program is tested in ways we do not normally have the opportunity to. The students have been an absolute delight. They are teaching me about their world and have been very receptive to the material I am sharing with them. I consider it a great honour to be asked to work with this special group of students.” 

Capital Normal students will be in local schools September 10-14, including Willowgrove Elementary School, École Forest Grove Elementary School, Holy Family Catholic Elementary School, Centennial Collegiate, and St. Joseph’s Catholic High School. A pre-orientation session will provide the Capital Normal students with contextual knowledge prior to entering the schools, and students will be paired with in-school mentors who are educators from the Saskatoon area. During the school visits, the in-school mentors’ role is to welcome the students, provide supports as needed, and facilitate a debriefing of the learning at the end of each school day.

The visiting students have also experienced local entertainment, including visits to Remai Modern Art Gallery, the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, FolkFest, and Wanuskewin Heritage Park. The group returns to Beijing on September 15.

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