OKU students experience teaching abroad at an elementary school in Taiwan
Fourteen graduate students and seven faculty members from the Graduate School of Education and the United Graduate School of Professional Teacher Education held demonstration lessons and observed lessons at an elementary school affiliated with our partner school National Kaohsiung Normal University (NKNU) in Taiwan for four days from October 19 (Wednesday) to 22 (Saturday).
This event has been held since 2012 as part of a project at the Course for School Teachers to enhance graduate-level education. The two-year program carried out in collaboration with schools affiliated with NKNU involves lesson observation and lesson preparation in the first year and a demonstration lesson in the second year. In this fifth session of the program, with the support of staff members including principal of the affiliated junior high school,Buwu Zheng, curriculum coordinator/vice-principal Yangping Zhang, and chief librarian Zhihao Xiang, as well as the students who participated in the demonstration lessons, Period IV students gave demonstration lessons and Period V students observed lessons at an elementary school affiliated with NKNU.
The students first observed Chinese language, mathematics, music, and general education classes in groups. They spent their free time interacting with the children by playing ball toss and gomoku with them during recess and eating school lunch with them. Period V students had a meeting in preparation for their demonstration lesson the following year.
Next, Period IV students gave demonstration lessons for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at the school. While students and student teachers from NKNU observed, teams of 3 to 4 OKU students of different majors gave their lessons. The three lessons were: a physical education lesson called “Teach Us! Dr. Nonomura!” in which students learned how to run fast, an arts and crafts lesson called “SUMI art” in which students made art using sumi ink, and a combined social studies and arts and crafts class called “Let’s make our pictograms and school map!” in which students drew a pictogram of their classroom and made a school map. In the general discussion after the lessons, the OKU students were praised for their careful lesson preparation and innovative lesson approach, the teaching materials that stimulated children’s imagination and creativity, their use of a projector showing instructions in Chinese and English and images to help understanding, and their approach to communication with the children.
The students who participated shared their impressions: “I was happy that the children we met yesterday while observing lessons remembered us and talked to us again.” “I want to sincerely thank the teachers at the school that hosted us. I’d like to use what I learned from this experience in my future work.”