Speaking a Common Language

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By: Anne-Margaret Swary

The College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University recently hosted 21 faculty members from China as part of a program that centers on English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching and learning.

The Summer TESL Cohort, an initiative of the International Scholars’ Academy, aimed to not only promote participants’ competency in ESL teaching, but also encourage cultural understanding and exchange. The 21 ESL faculty members hailed from Xi’an International Studies University (XISU), a public Chinese university located in Xi'an, a well-known ancient capital in China and the home of the Terracotta Warriors.

During their three weeks in the program, XISU faculty successfully accomplished 60 hours of academic sessions organized in five themes: general cross-disciplinary pedagogy; language arts/ESL teaching; media-supported ESL teaching; curriculum design lab; and ESL through culture and history. XISU faculty also actively participated in cultural and social events such as a meet and greet with BGSU faculty, staff and students, a cookout with the Bowling Green community, local host family visits and more. In addition, the faculty learned and experienced U.S. culture and local history through field trips in Bowling Green and nearby cities and attractions, including Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Amish Country, Detroit and Chicago.

The program was first initiated in early 2016 by BGSU professor Dr. Lan Li and professor Xiaohua Hu, dean of the English Language Institute at XISU. In June 2016 and February 2017, Dr. Lan Li and program co-director Dr. Tim Murnen, both of the School of Teaching and Learning visited XISU to meet faculty and administrators and to discuss program details.  These collaborative efforts resulted in the arrival of the first XISU group on BGSU campus in August 2017.

“The program stands as a testament to ISA’s commitment to encouraging and facilitating international education and research collaborations, and serves as a stepping stone for future collaborations and exchanges between BGSU and XISU,” Li said.