JIm Carl in China
Curriculum and Foundations
"Reflections on an amazing journey"
by Jim Carl
In June, 2011, Dr. Jim Carl led a group of future school administrators to China, in a customized version of his course “Comparative and International Education”(offered through the Center for Educational Leadership). With introductions provided by Dr. Chen Wang of the College’s Confucius Institute and Ms. Rachel Zhao of the CSU Campus International School, Carl and his students visited two public elementary schools, one in Shanghai, one in Beijing. At the Shanghai school the American educators exchanged ideas with students, teachers, and administrators (the teachers of English and some of the older students served as interpreters). In Beijing, they were participant-observers of a tennis lesson and an English language lesson. The high point for Carl was the English lesson. The teacher sought to reinforce the second-graders’ Chinese as they learned English. At one point, a student whispered phrases in an American teacher’s ear, and the American relayed the Chinese to the rest of the class, to peals of laughter from the Chinese speakers! It was a warm, fun-filled classroom observation.
Of course, not all of Carl’s time was spent visiting classrooms. Thanks to the Confucius Institute, Carl and his students were treated to wonderful cultural sites—a cruise on Shanghai’s Huangpu River with the soaring skyscrapers of the Pudong as the backdrop; a visit to West Lake with its variety of Buddhist statues; a stop at one of Suzhou’s famous formal gardens with its tranquil combination of water, rocks, plants, and buildings; a walk through the Forbidden City, ending in massive Tiananmen Square, with its portrait of Chairman Mao looking over the Americans; and a hike along the Great Wall, an engineering marvel and one of the wonders of the world. The food was fantastic and the accommodations first-rate.
When the Comparative Education class ended and his students flew back to the U.S., Carl traveled to the city of Xi’an as a guest of the College of Education at Shaanxi Normal University. Carl delivered talks on a topic he knows best—U.S. school reform—and the faculty and graduate students graciously showed him around the city, which included a visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors, part of the burial site of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty. Larger than life, with realistic features, the several-thousand-strong Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, from 210 BCE, were a sight Carl will never forget.
By now, you are probably asking two things. (1) How do I sign up for Dr. Carl’s class? (Answer: contact him at email@example.com). (2) Regarding Chinese cuisine, what was a dish that was tasty and unusual? (Answer: crocodile soup).