Elementary Education seeks to forge partnership with university in china

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The Appalachian Online

Halie Hamilton

Appalachian State’s Elementary Education program was recently recognized by Teacher.org as the eighth best elementary education program in the United States.

“One of the strengths of our program, especially in comparison to other programs is the fact that we have ongoing field experiences,” Chrystal Dean, elementary education graduate director, said. “This is one of the strengths of the program because a student’s first time in the field isn’t during their student teaching, they have been in the field several times before that happens.”

Lisa Gross, associate professor in Curriculum and Instruction, said that the criteria Teacher.org used in their rankings was based on graduation rate, tuition cost, size of program and online availability.

Out of over 780 schools, only two institutions from the southeast region ranked in the top 10: App State and East Carolina.

Jeff Goodman, senior lecturer in elementary education and media studies, said the Elementary Education program is the biggest undergraduate program in the College of Education.

“The real reason we are great is because the students that graduate from our program are capable, passionate and compassionate teachers and go out and change the lives of kids,” Goodman said.

Goodman said his wife is a fifth grade teacher and that he can’t overstate how important her job is.

“Every doctor you go to once had an elementary school teacher, every judge you go in front of once had an elementary school teacher,” Goodman said. “It is a really important job, it is also a really difficult job.”

Appalachian State’s Elementary Education currently has two partnerships they are cultivating with schools in China. Conversations started last spring when Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor and director of OIED, started trying to establish different partnerships.

One of the partnerships is with Wenzhou University and would have students in the master’s program there complete the program at App and then go back to WZU to complete their program. In the end, their students would have two degrees.

The other partnership is with Shaanxi Normal University which is located in Xian, a historic city that used to be the capital of China. Dean said Shaanxi is considering a partnership where Appalachian faculty would work on professional development in China. Currently there is a national initiative underway in China to improve the quality of their education.

Susan Colby, Department of Curriculum and Instruction chair, and Dean were originally going to leave on Oct. 8 to go to China to meet with faculty from Wenzhou to talk about the masters program, do some presentations and have some meetings in Shaanxi.

However, their trip has been delayed due to complications with their visa. Dean said they plan to reschedule the trip but are currently unsure when they will be able to go. There will be a delegate from WZU coming to the United States who they plan to meet on Nov. 19.

Story by Halie Hamilton: News Reporter