Andre B. Malabanan
Following the partnership between Lorain County Community College and Changsha University in China, the two institutions have been engaged in a program where an educator from Changsha University will have an exposure in LCCC.
This fall semester’s visiting international scholar is Julie Pan Chen, a Chinese English professor, who was given the chance to teach here.
Pan said that she enjoys working in the college. She is mainly in charge of the on-line Chinese course, Chinese 151, and also tutors students with interest of learning the Chinese language. Aside from that, she also gives culture presentations about China. She has already done four and will be doing another two presentations.
It takes her almost a week to prepare the presentations but doesn’t complain about it because she always loved teaching.
“When I was young, I know I want to be a teacher and also loved language. The minute I got to know English, I fell in love with it. In the last year of my high school I just knew that I’m going to be an English teacher,” she said. The exchange program is a significant one according to her because being a language learner, culture is best to be experienced than just simply knowing about it.
“I didn’t experience a major culture shock but there are still differences that surprised me,” she said. Pan had been teaching English since 2008 and had been teaching Chinese to American students as a part-time job back in China.
As she was now exposed to both the American and Chinese educational system, she noted of the differences that they have. First thing that she observed was the class size. “Back in China, in my class, smallest is like 50. The biggest class size that I handled was composed of 80 students. We have to use a microphone,” she said.
Secondly, as she has also given the privilege to observe in classes, she observed the good teacher-student interaction in classes at LCCC. “The teaching style here is very casual,” she said. “And it seems okay for them that students just stand up and roam around casually while class is on-going, which usually doesn’t happen in China,” she added.
Lastly, she narrated an experience in observing an 8 am class. “I’m a little surprised to see this morning, I went to academic English writing class, and the teacher carries a prize box. I was surprised that adult students will still be interested in small prizes. But that’s a good tip”, she said.
If there’s a lesson that she learned so far, it’s how the Americans treat time differently compared to the Chinese. “I believe Americans value time very deeply. And the way Chinese treat time is quite different from Americans. Chinese people like to look back. They pay special attention to the history but Americans, in my opinion, they look forward to the future. They like to make plans. They stick to their schedules. But Chinese people they’re like, well, you can make a plan but plans can change, so we don’t like to set schedules and I think that’s what we need to learn. That’s what I learned here and I think that’s very good,” she said.