A group of 11 graduate students from OKU Graduate School of Education and United Graduate School of Professional Teacher Education, together with eight faculty members, visited schools affiliated with Taiwan’s National Kaohsiung Normal University (NKNU) for four days from October 18 (Wed) - 21 (Sat) for classroom observation and teaching practice.
The trip was part of a two-year program organized in collaboration with the Affiliated Senior High School of National Kaohsiung Normal University, involving classroom observation and lesson plan preparation during the first year and teaching practice in the second year. The program is in its sixth year. Academic dean, Jian Yucheng, head librarian, Xiang Zhihao, and other staff from the Taiwanese junior high school assisted the students as the fifth-term students did teaching practice and fourth-term students did classroom observation at the elementary school.
The students visited language arts, mathematics, social studies and computer skills classes, and then ate lunch with the children. Afterward, the fifth-term students prepared for their teaching practice while the fourth-term students met to discuss their next-year teaching practice. Next, fifth-term students did their teaching practice with third, fourth and fifth graders, and teaching three lessons. In the first—an environmental education class called “That’s a waste!”—the children made recycled paper out of milk cartons and learned about the relationship between paper and forest resources. In the second class, called “Preparing for earthquakes,” the subject was preparing for a disaster with useful knowledge and skills. The last class featured a board game based on shinkansen bullet trains created by students of an elementary school in the city of Osaka to learn about Japanese geography and culture. After the lessons, the teachers and faculty members and students and professors from NKNU commented that they had learned a lot about Japanese place names and Japanese games, and that the OKU students used PowerPoint and video effectively to explain the content to the children well. One of the OKU students commented about the experience, saying, “This experience of teaching a class overseas made me realize the difficulty in accurately transmitting something to children.”
When they returned from the trip, 26 students and faculty members participated in a meeting to report on the program. The fifth-term students who did the on-site teaching practice reported on the content of their lessons, what they learned in the process of preparing them, their methods and their reflections. A representative of the fourth-term students shared what they learned in their classroom observation and their hopes for the future, saying, “Sharing a perspective on education within the team, being really prepared for the lessons and the ability to teach without relying on words is important, but I think that more than anything taking on this project with a sense of camaraderie was valuable.”