NCSSM Chancellor Todd Roberts returned this week from a whirlwind four-day trip to China. His trip included visits to a number of high schools to give presentations on the American education system and tour the schools where NCSSM has established partnerships.
In 2013 Roberts traveled to Beijing Normal Experimental High School to help launch NCSSM’s partnership with Chinese schools. The collaboration includes a Global Understanding course taught by Hong Li, NCSSM Chinese instructor. Each week, students spend an hour exchanging discussion and questions with students in China through interactive video conferencing. NCSSM students have since visited China over Mini-Term, and Chinese students have visited our campus the last two winters.
Roberts also met with Jianli Wang, who codirects the Chinese Culture and Education Center based in South Carolina. The center is sponsoring a new global programs coordinator position at NCSSM, filled by former Chinese language instructor Caryn Rossi, to focus on collaborating with Duke TIP to expand international programs focused on China.
The trip was “part of our continuing efforts to engage with schools internationally to provide more opportunities for our students to collaborate with students around the world, to prepare them for the increasingly global world they live in,” Roberts says.
“The people I met are very interested in our school and how we teach students,” he says. “Especially how we offer research and mentorship experiences, that’s not common in China. And they have some interest in Summer Accelerator, as more families look for opportunities to expose their children to the American education system.
“As a nation, China is looking at how to revamp its education system to focus more on critical thinking and problem solving. In the past they’ve been more focused on taking exams, particularly the gaokao (pronounced gow-kow), the national college admissions test [read more about the gaokao].
So they’re looking at different models,” Roberts notes.
Traveling across the globe and back in less than six days and making a handful of presentations can be exhausting, but Roberts says the trip was worth his lost sleep. “It’s a great opportunity to share the innovative work we do at NCSSM with the larger global community.”