The three Logansport Community High School teachers who left in early June to teach English in China have returned with stories, life experiences and insight on how two education systems on opposite sides of the planet can benefit each other.
Melanie Lang, Beth Myers and Jitka Nelson, all English teachers at the high school, were the first to teach abroad as a part of the Logansport Community School Corporation’s sister school agreements with the Chinese province of Zhejiang.
Along with having to adapt to an entirely different culture, the teachers were also responsible for educating students who were accustomed to a teaching style quite different from the ones the teachers use in the U.S., they said.
When the vice principals of one of the Logansport Community School Corporation’s sister schools in China visited Logansport in May, they both praised the city’s educators for their emphasis on development and expressed a desire for Chinese schools to make a move in a similar direction.
Lang, who taught the equivalent of elementary through middle school students, said her Chinese students’ former training in English had come mainly in the form of memorization and recitation. Part of her lessons included getting the students out of their desks, lining up at the back of the room and having them race to the chalkboard to complete English sentences.
“I wanted to do things that weren’t sitting and reading out of a book,” Lang said. “It was learning through playing almost.”
Nelson, who also taught the equivalent of elementary through middle school students, described her classes as “regimented” and “lined up in their desks.” With about 50 students in her classes, she knew it would be difficult to get them moving and still retain control of the classroom, which is why part of her lessons included teaching body language associated with English words.