“Our Friday” by Yan Wang

After the 4th Biennial North Carolina Summit on US-China Education, Wang Guangfa, our principal of Beijing Royal School and Chairman of the Fazheng Group, invited us to the office of RTP China Connections to have a luncheon with some college students who graduated from Beijing Royal School (BRS), as well as exchange students from BRS high school and their American homestay family here. We were so excited to meet with our dear students and witnessed their physical growth and academic progress. We were touched to see that our students and their homestay parents were as intimate as a real family. It was a great comfort and fantastic gift for us to enjoy this happy reunion before Mid-Autumn Day, a great traditional festival in China for family reunions.

Our “Friday” at The Friday Institute:

It is hard to imagine anyone who does not like Friday, which is always followed by the lovely weekend. Our ECI620 day is like Friday to us, though it is on Thursday, in that first we love Dr. Spires’ class and we do not have classes on the next day. We go to The Friday Institute every Thursday, walking 15-20 minutes with lots of laughs and much joy on the clean and quiet road. There’s no other pedestrians on this scenic route, which makes us more attractive! We love the book Dr. Spires recommended to us, Cultural Foundations Of Learning, which demonstrates how Western and East Asian folks hold fundamentally different beliefs about learning that influence how they approach child rearing and education. We enjoyed that book thoroughly and prepared our class seriously and carefully.

I do not know if our images of holding books and reading everywhere touched anyone here but I am sure our learning attitude is worthy of pride of our school, students and family in our homeland.

The most interesting thing we did last week was that we had an active discussion in Dr. Spires’ class about key elements of successful presentation for preparation of our own TED talk. Strong opening, clarity, use multimedia technology, use relative pictures, numbers and analysis, slow down and repeat key points, well-prepared, story and natural turned out to be the winning ones among total 17 elements after vote till the ending of class. Everybody actively involved in the discussion and vote, felt no shame to ask any questions, and took notes carefully, which is our ideal class. We learned a lot both as students and teachers.

Observation of classes at Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School

We were so honored to have the opportunity to visit the Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School again last Thursday. In fact, it was not just a visit last time but to observe classes. Dr. Spires introduced us to the coordinator who lead us to observe Social Studies, Science and Language Art classes of Grade 8. Both students and teachers there are energetic, and friendly to us visitors. What impressed me most was the Social study class that I observed. Fisher, the teacher of that class, was very experienced, and patient to her students. She prepared well, started with natural and fluent warm-up, helped students review with both compelling and supporting questions and utilized video with relative history topic to activate students. After almost one hour observing, we could not help sharing what we learned from different classes on the way back home. We appreciate this precious opportunity and hope we can have more chance to observe classes.




Yan Wang, English name Jody, is pursuing a masters degree in New Literacies and Global Learning through the Curriculum and Instruction program at N.C. State.This is her fist time in the U.S. and she loved Raleigh and NCSU at first sight! Yan Wang was a 10th and 11th grade English teacher for two years before she came to the U.S. She loves her job and her students. She came to the U.S. to improve herself and to prepare herself to be a better teacher when she goes back to China. Yan Wang is a big fan of travelling and taking photos, and works out almost everyday, running or playing badminton. She loves making friends with people, as well as learning and sharing different cultures and ideas.