Monday, September 09, 2013

[017] MTSU hosts delegation of students, educators from China

Rutherford County, Murfreesboro City school systems hope to forge agreements

MURFREESBORO — MTSU will host this week a delegation of elementary and middle school children and educators from Hangzhou, China, who are visiting to develop student exchanges and cultural ties with Tennessee schools.

The more than 30 Chinese school children will be welcomed at an event Tuesday morning at the Kennon Hall of Fame, featuring band members and cheerleaders from Siegel Middle School, the Discovery School at Reeves Rogers, Central Magnet School and MTSU.

They will be paired throughout the four-day visit with Rutherford students who visited Hangzhou in July 2012, which was also facilitated by MTSU’s Confucius Institute. The Confucius Institute works to develop cultural and educational ties between China and the U.S.

“The university is pleased to play a role in building this cultural bridge and allowing students and educators from both countries to learn from each other,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee.

Chinese students will visit the homes of local schoolchildren, tour historic and cultural sites in Nashville and Murfreesboro and participate in educational workshops. Stops include the State Capitol Building, the Grand Ole Opry, the Stones River National Battlefield and Cannonsburgh Village.

Meanwhile, area and Chinese educators will participate in roundtable discussions about educational and leadership styles used in their respective schools and systems.

Officials from Murfreesboro City Schools, Rutherford County Schools, MTSU and the Dongcheng Education Group of Hangzhou Normal University hope to sign agreements to formalize future cooperation, including:
·      Promoting institutional exchanges by inviting faculty and staff to participate in teaching and research activities, and professional development;
·      Develop exchange programs, such as summer camps, in China and Rutherford County;
·      And organize symposia, conferences, short courses or programs, and meetings on educational issues or other topics of mutual interest.
“With the efforts of the Dongcheng Education Group, Hangzhou Normal University and MTSU, we have enjoyed great success in student exchange and faculty collaboration,” McPhee said. “This visit will certainly help to promote further cooperation.”

Linda Gilbert, director of Murfreesboro City Schools, said her system was “excited about expanding opportunities for our teachers and students to link with the global community.

“I appreciate MTSU's leadership and invitation to join the collaborative partnership,” Gilbert said. “This will provide us with an arena in which to discuss and compare educational ideas.”

Don Odom, director of Rutherford County Schools, echoed Gilbert’s sentiments.

“We are anticipating good learning opportunities with this relationship,” Odom said.

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