Summer volunteering program unites teachers from China and America
By Kevin Freeley
While some teachers spend the summer at the beach, many teachers have spent their summer volunteering in China. Every summer since 2005, Sino-American Bridge for Education and Health has sent American teachers to work in China. These are experienced teachers, willing to share best practices with their colleagues in China. Over the past eight years, SABEH has sent teachers to many locations in China, including Beijing, Chongqing, Fuzhou and Nanjing. During this time, they have worked with several hundred teachers in China.
SABEH is an American charity with a mission is to create a bridge between the unique cultures of China and the United States. It was developed in 2004 by Boston-area educators. Notable are a few educators affiliated with Primary Source, a teacher-training institute that has educated local teachers about China. Anne Watt was a founder of Primary Source, and Wanli Hu was one of the educators on staff.
The U.S. teachers spend five weeks sharing American teaching methods and at the same time experiencing the culture of schools in China. To prepare for China, these experienced teachers spend more than 50 hours in SABEH workshops. While working with the Chinese teachers, the SABEH volunteers run workshops focusing on the key goals of increasing comprehension, interaction and thinking skills. These objectives are aligned with China’s educational reform objectives.
Additionally, SABEH has a health component. It has been involved in a program that supports mothers-to-be in Shaanxi Province. Pregnant women in this program are sent text messages about healthy practices before and after childbirth. These informational texts help address postpartum depression and other critical health issues that rural women may not have access to.
This summer, there are four teachers in Hangzhou and 13 teachers in Fuzhou. They are excited about their work and the success of their program. The work of the SABEH teachers has been well-received and the Chinese teachers have reported to their American counterparts that they have been meeting and planning to make changes in their lessons.
If you would like more information about SABEH, please visit SABEH.org.
This post is also available in: Chinese