Local News

May 16, 2013

Forging friendships

Chinese visitors experience school, life in Logansport.

LOGANSPORT — A group of 30 Chinese citizens — students, teachers and an education delegate — stayed with families and toured elementary schools in Logansport this week where they observed classes, learned about one another and forged friendships through a recently established cultural exchange program.

Wang Li and Shi Jin Song, both vice principals of Zhejiang Yongkang Renmin Primary School, one of Logansport’s newly established sister schools in the province of Zhejiang, were among the group.

In an interview translated by Lei Wang, Ph.D. candidate with the Educational Leadership and Policy Department at Indiana University, the two school administrators said they were “very impressed” with Logansport’s academic environment.

Li and Song, both with backgrounds in teaching math, said textbooks used in China and the United States are very similar, as is the physical makeup of the schools themselves.

The administrators said in China, one class stays together throughout the students’ childhoods as opposed to being grouped with new kids at the beginning of each year. Students also remain in the same room while teachers of different subjects are the ones coming in and out throughout the day.

Classes in China are also significantly bigger, they said, with sometimes up to 60 students in a class as opposed to the rooms with 20 to 30 typically found in the United States.

“Teachers have no time to explain, they just give the answer,” Song said as Wang translated, adding that class sizes in developed areas of China have been reduced in recent years in order to ensure a more efficient teaching style.

Both administrators said they were particularly impressed with the way Logansport teachers divided students based on their academic ability in order to further ensure each student is able to grasp the material they’re learning and have an opportunity to advance, adding they feel education in the U.S. is more emphasized on development.

“School is not only for teaching, but to play, to grow up,” Wang translated Li as saying. “School should feel like home.”

An 11-year-old Chinese student who introduced herself as Yolanda, the name she adopted to make it easier for English speakers to address her, said she was having fun at the Logansport schools “solving math problems, drawing and listening to English words.”

In a group interview with Yolanda and several of her peers, Wang patiently sorted through their enthusiastic replies, explaining they said there is far more homework in China. They said they were surprised by the lines at bathrooms, as there are no breaks between classes in schools back home. Water fountains were a new discovery as well — Chinese students tend to stick to cups or water bottles. They were also fans of the houses they got to stay in. Many families in China live in apartments.

When asked if they would like it if students from Logansport came to visit their school in China, their blank faces awaited Wang’s translation, then burst into a fervent response.

“Of course!” Wang translated.

Scott and Emily Graham hosted two of the students, Ren Yi Kan and Dai Aao Jie, both 13, for their stay. After school, the boys would spend time with the couple and their four children, sharing family meals, playing out the in yard and trying all of the flavors at the Sycamore Drive-In, which Scott owns.

Ren Yi Kan and Dai Aao Jie have a grasp on the fundamentals of the English language, but Emily said many of their conversations were conducted with the aid of a translator app on her iPad.

The tablet device came in handy for interviewing purposes as well.

After reading questions translated into Chinese, the boys quickly typed their replies before handing the iPad back with smiling faces. The text on the screen stated they enjoyed attending Logansport schools and that they would like it if Logansport students came to visit their schools in the future.

Emily, assistant director at the Century Career Center and coordinator of the English Learner program at Logansport High School, said she was excited about the two school systems forging a relationship. Her duties with the English Learner program have mostly pertained to Logansport’s Hispanic population and she said she is looking forward to seeing it expand.

“I would love to see that grow into another culture,” she said. “There are so many things we can learn from them.”

Emily’s 12-year-old daughter, Claire, agreed.

“It’s building a foundation and hopefully it will grow into more,” she said. She is interested in discovering the similarities and differences between Chinese and American culture and would like to study in China someday herself.

As Vice Principal Song spoke during the interview, Wang translated him as saying there is a popular phrase in China he felt applies to the sister school relationship between Logansport and Zhejiang.

“When two get together, you discover your own and each other’s strengths and weaknesses and learn from each other.”

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or


For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS-PT041814 LC50 cords.jpg 50 years later WALTON -- Dean "D.A." Zehring graduated from the current Lewis Cass High School, but he never attended classes there. It's one of the unique characteristics of the graduating class of 1968, the first class to complete all four years of high school un

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Caston considers Logan bus stop FULTON -- Caston Schools administrators are considering establishing a bus stop a few miles outside its boundaries on the north side of Logansport. The school board recently discussed the feasibility of adding a bus stop for students transferring fro

    April 18, 2014

  • mushroom Parks let mushroom hunters forage off-trail INDIANAPOLIS - Rain that pounded Brown County State Park in early April dampened the number of hikers and mountain bikers in Indiana's largest state park, but foragers of the property's 15,000 acres of forest welcomed the weather. With the arrival o

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police blotter: April 17, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT041714 G.jpg Sign of support: Class meant to connect hearing-impaired family members Jordanna Dishner-Rush gestured forcefully to a coat rack hanging in the back of the meeting room at the Logansport Library. She was trying to use just hand motions — no speech — to get the other women to guess the secret word she'd been given. Dishne

    April 17, 2014 12 Photos

  • Logansport graduation rate rises again Logansport High School's graduation rate jumped almost 2 percentage points to 92.9 percent in 2013, data released Wednesday show. The Indiana Department of Education released graduation data for the 2012-2013 school year Wednesday. The data show that

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT041714 Mustangs.jpg Local dealer celebrates the Mustang Fifty years ago today, the Ford Mustang was introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair. Now, six of them will be on display for the next few weeks at Rick's Auto Sales in Logansport celebrating what the business owner says is a half centur

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Redevelopment commission proposes new TIF expansion The Logansport Redevelopment Commission is now considering including land surrounding Water Street in a proposed consolidation of the city's tax increment financing districts. A tax increment financing, or TIF, district, captures the increments of an

    April 17, 2014

  • Bids under budget for Carroll project FLORA -- Bids came in under budget for a two-year construction project set to start this summer at Carroll Consolidated Schools. Fourteen construction bids chosen at the Carroll school board's meeting Tuesday night added up to $7,283,628, well under

    April 17, 2014

  • Bunker Hill parents charged with neglect BUNKER HILL — A month-long investigation by Indiana State Police Detective Mike Tarrh recently resulted in the arrests of Richard Avery Jr., 30, and Heather Avery, 28, both of Bunker Hill. Police say they received information from the Miami County Di

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

Should e-cigarette marketing be regulated like tobacco?

     View Results