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Chinese delegates visit elementary schools



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Chinese delegates have lunch with some students at Daniel Axford Elementary. Pictured are students Matteo Luchini, Lucas Bottene and Andrew Hampson. (click for larger version)
December 08, 2010 - Oxford Community Schools hosted some special guests this week as Chinese delegates toured the district to study the American education system.

Twenty-one representatives spent Monday, Dec. 6 touring the district's three Chinese language elementary schools -- Daniel Axford, Clear Lake and Oxford Elementary. The delegates consisted of some of the best and brightest teachers in China.

"Everything was new to them," Daniel Axford Principal Joyce Brasington said.

Zhao LiJian, who teaches history at the high school level, was amazed at how fast the students pick up the content they were taught.

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DA student Tobery Martin shows off his computer skills to a couple of Chinese teachers. (click for larger version)
LiJian thought the teachers were working "very hard."

"There is a big difference between schools here (and in China) in how students are taught and how teachers interact with students," he said.

According to assistant superintendent of curriculum James Schwarz, Chinese schools have one main teacher per subject at the elementary level and they use a bell system, similar to one at a high school level, to let the kids know when it is time to switch classes.

LiJain was also impressed with the individual attention that students receive throughout the day.

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"Even in the cafeteria there is a table for those who have allergy problems and also special education programs intended to help students who are falling behind," he said.

Shi-an Guo, the head of the Beijing Institute of Education, was thoroughly impressed and shared his opinion that the American education system was geared toward the specific characteristic of a child.

"They are a lot of fun," Guo said. "The teaching style is very flexible and very versatile, especially when paying attention to individual characteristics of children."

The delegates will not only see what happens at the elementary level in Oxford. From Dec. 7-9 they will tour Crossroads and the Crossing Bridges program, the middle school and the high school.

The district plans on creating a foreign exchange program where teachers can have the opportunity to head over to China to teach, and vice-versa.

"We're trying to build up an exchange program so teachers from China can visit our school and we can go over there," Brasington said.

Once the delegates complete their tour of Oxford, they will hop on a plane and fly to Los Angeles to spend a week there. "They are getting the American experience," Schwarz said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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