Arkansas School Districts Welcome 11 Hanban Volunteer Chinese Teachers

To welcome11 Hanban volunteer Chinese teachers to Arkansas USA, Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas and ten school districts of Arkansas held a welcome luncheon in the Present Dining Hall of UCA. All 11 volunteer Chinese teachers will take part in Teach Chinese in Arkansas program founded by Confucius Institute of UCA. When they finish the training and assessment of Arkansas nontraditional teacher certification system, they will get the formal qualification to teach in elementary, junior and senior high schools of Arkansas.

Dr. Guoou Zhuang, the director of Confucius Institute presided at the welcome luncheon. Dr. Karen Cushman, the assistant commissioner of Arkansas Department of Education, Dr. Allen C. Meadors, Present of University of Central Arkansas, Dr. Alexander N. Chen, Associate Vice President for International Engagement of UCA, Dr. Maurice A. Lee, Dean of College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Diana Pounder, Dean of College of Education, and superintendents and principles from ten school districts of Arkansas such as North Little Rock, Beebe, Hot Spring and Bentonville took part in the luncheon.

Dr. Allen C. Meadors, the Present of UCA, gave the welcome speech. He expressed his heartfelt thanks to Confucius Institute for CI’s outstanding contribution on promoting Teach Chinese in Arkansas program, and to Arkansas school districts for their strong support to the program.

Ms. Barbara Culpepper from ADE highly praised University of Central Arkansas, Confucius Institute and all school districts for their positive attitude and spirit of innovation to create and develop this program, which bring Arkansas students the opportunity of learning Chinese in elementary, junior and senior high schools and let them possess the bilingual and bicultural advantage in increasing economic and cultural exchanges between China and USA nowadays.

Dr. Greg Murry, Superintendent of Conway school district, introduced the great success of Conway two-year Chinese program, shared with other districts the precious experience and expressed his confidence in the bright future of this program.

Dr. Belinda Shook, Superintendent of Beebe school district, warmly welcomed the volunteer teachers on behalf of the new school districts of the Chinese program, and fully confirmed the achievement of the program. Ms. Holly Wilkerson, vice principle of Batesville Elementary School,who just came back from the Chinese Bridge for American Schools organized by Hanban in June, shared with all the participants her wonderful experience in China and the internationalization and prospective view of China’s foreign languages education, and urged more school districts to take part in Teach Chinese in Arkansas Program.

The luncheon proceeded in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Superintendents and principles of school districts chatted with new volunteer teachers, gave them a detailed introduction to course arrangement and education situation, promised that they would support teachers’ future work, and wished all the teachers can adapt themselves very well to the new job and life in Arkansas.        In order to help the 11 volunteer teachers to have a better understanding about Arkansas, Confucius Institute arranged a Little Rock ( the capital of Arkansas) cultural tour. The Clinton Presidential library gave them a deep impression. The professional guide showed the teachers videos, files and exhibits to help them know more about Arkansas, a natural and opportunity state, and Bill Clinton, the pride of Arkansas people and the USA.

Confucius Institute also held several lectures about American education, classroom arrangement and psychological adjustment to help them adapt to Arkansas and new job.Picture 4 Dr. Shoudong Feng gave a lecture on American education system.

On July 5th, Dr. Lance R. Grahn, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs of University of Central Arkansas, welcomed 11 volunteer teachers on behalf of UCA, expressed thanks for Chinese teachers’  bringing Chinese culture to Arkansas public schools, and gave them some suggestions on how to be a successful teacher in USA.Picture 5   Dr. Lance R. Grahn, Provost and Vice President of UCA took pictures with volunteer teachers.

From July 11th to July 29th, Hanban volunteer teachers will take a 3-week professional teaching training arranged by Arkansas Department of Education which will build a solid foundation to their future job. (By Wenjun Zhao, Confucius Institute of University of Central Arkansas)