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The Volunteer Teacher In-Service Training Conference is an annual program that provides continued professional development for Hanban visiting teachers in U.S. K-12 schools. This year, the Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota was honored to host one of the regional conferences in Minneapolis from October 31 through November 2, 2014. We welcomed 124 teachers from 16 different states. Teachers participated in workshops that focused on various aspects of Chinese language pedagogy including curriculum development, classroom management, and communication strategy and technology integration. Experienced master teachers and administrators from the K-12 world facilitated all of the workshops. Ms. Robin Harvey, coordinator of Developing Chinese Language Teacher Project from New York University, was also invited to share her expertise on storytelling and technology.
Associate Vice President and Dean Meredith McQuaid delivered opening remarks at the training and shared her experiences learning Chinese in the 1980s. Ms. Ursula Lentz, world language specialist from the Minnesota Department of Education, represented a key partner in Minnesota’s visiting teacher programs at the opening ceremony. Other honorary guests included Director Guo Jiaoyang from the Hanban Volunteer Teachers Center in Beijing and Consul Qin Juhua from the Chicago Education Section of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.
The In-Service Training Conference provided visiting teachers a venue not only to gain further insights on U.S. education and Chinese language pedagogy, but also an opportunity to celebrate their success and friendship. Through this conference, the Hanban volunteer teachers were also able to build a stronger professional network to support each other and continue to promote Chinese language and culture in their schools and community.