Chinese Educators Tour North Carolina Schools

Oct 16, 2015

Chinese educators from Xuzhou checked out a middle school art class at Durham School of the Arts.
Credit Jess Clark

Principals and administrators from the city of Xuzhou visited Durham School of the Arts (DSA) on Thursday.

They are the third group of Chinese educators to tour North Carolina schools this year through UNC’s Center for International Understanding (CIU).

Julie McGaha, K-12 program director for CIU, said the purpose of the visit is to give Chinese leaders in education a more nuanced understanding of American public schools.

"They can take these things back to their province, to their school," McGaha said.

The group of 20 Chinese educators visited a dance class, a visual art class and a piano class at DSA.

Chinese principals and administrators tried traditional North Carolina barbecue during a visit to Durham School of the Arts.
Credit Jess Clark

Xinwei Dai is a researcher with the Department of Education in the city of Xuzhou. Dai said through an interpreter that Chinese educators can learn from American schools the importance of helping students develop vocational and art skills.

“In Chinese society we say books is the most important, your academic performance is the most important. But we overlook the difference in students' talents," she said.

Dai added that few schools in China focus on teaching the arts.

But Dai also said she thinks American schools can do better at pushing their students to excel in math and science.

Chinese educators visited a piano class at the Durham School of the Arts.
Credit Jess Clark

"Here in the United States, I think teachers tend to follow students' lead and give them the freedom to choose what they want to do, and may not actually give them enough incentive to perform even better," she said.

The group will also visit schools in Mount Airy, Carrboro and Chapel Hill.

Tianlu Redmon interpreted for this story.