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Confucius Institute Hosts Week-long Seminar for Pre-college Teachers

Buffalo, NY – Many teachers in New York State are required to teach about the history and culture of China, but very few have any significant background in China studies. In order to provide teachers with better information and resources about China, the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute hosted a week-long seminar for K-12 teachers, June 26-30, 2017.

The seminar was organized in affiliation with the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia and cosponsored by the Five College Center for East Asian Studies and the Buffalo Teacher Resource Center. Major funding was provided by the Freeman Foundation and Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters. The Confucius Institute is also grateful to the UB Honors College for providing its seminar room for this professional development program.

In all, 18 teachers from public, private, and charter schools in the Buffalo area participated in the week-long program (with one teacher from Norwalk, Connecticut, also spending the week here).

Presenters included University at Buffalo Professors Kristin Stapleton (History), Yan Liu (History), and Nicolas Bommarito (Philosophy), Confucius Institute Associate Director Maggie Lu (Language), Buffalo State College Professor Stephen Vermette (Geography), Binghamton University Professor Nick Kaldis (Literature and Film), Alfred University Visiting Professor Zhongbei Wu (Music), Gold Summit Martial Arts President Erin Markle, and independent scholars Herbert Batt (Literature) and Jean Jain (Art).

Participating teachers received a wealth of textbooks and teaching materials about China, and are required to prepare an implementation plan to demonstrate how information and the materials from the seminar will be used in their classes going forward.

Paula Fortuna, a high school world literature teacher at the Center for Global Studies in Norwalk Connecticut, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Understanding China’ seminar and learned so much in a short time.  Each professor’s robust knowledge and ability to share fascinating stories and facts about China inspired me, and the information will definitely enrich my curriculum and practice. The Confucius Institute was exceedingly generous in providing us with so many great books and reference pages that I will bring back to my school and share with my students and colleagues for years to come.”

Mark Dodge, a social studies teacher at East High School in Buffalo, summed up the experience this way: “I was amazed by the variety and richness of the resources provided.  The course covered everything from science and medicine to painting and poetry, I would have entitled it 1000 ways to insert China into your classroom.”