Educators at The Park School Share China Study Tour Experiences with Students

12 November 2012

ChinaLast summer, two educators from The Park School in Brookline, Massachusetts, traveled to China on a Primary Source international study tour. This school year, Dorothea Black, Librarian, and Jonathan Prosky, Associate Director of Admissions, are using their first-hand experiences to engage students in learning about China.

Primary Source visited The Park School on Friday, November 2nd to see the exciting ways that these educators are integrating China into the curriculum and school culture.

In the 6th grade Mandarin class, students are each working on research projects on a different city in China. Dorothea shared photos from her China travels with the class, including images from some of the cities students have been researching: Beijing, Dunhuang, Xi'an, and Hangzhou. Before Dorothea's presentation, each student located their city on a large map of China and practiced their pronunciation of the city name. Highlighting the juxtaposition of ancient temples and historic sites in China with daily life and Chinese culture today, Dorothea’s photos helped bring these places to life and provide students with an up-to-date view of ancient and contemporary China.

Dorothea stressed how fast China is growing and changing, remarking that she found there to be more individual artistic expression than she had expected. Students chimed in with questions and shared what they have been learning about China through their own research projects. They were particularly fascinated by Dorothea's photos of the Gobi Desert, showing sand dunes right next to an oasis town in the desert that is now a modern city. The students were excited, engaged, and eager to continue their learning about China.

"I'd like to say how grateful I am to have experienced the inspiring and enlightening China trip with Primary Source, including the preparation and follow up," said Dorothea.

The 6th grade Mandarin students aren't the only students benefitting from Dorothea and Jonathan's travels to China. Earlier that same day, Jonathan presented highlights from the trip to the entire 5th – 9th grade student body at a morning meeting, and he plans to show photos from the trip at the next meeting. Dorothea also has a project in the works looking at the evolution of books in China, starting with ancient Chinese scrolls and working all the way up to reading in the digital age today. Inspired by her visit to the library cave at the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, she hopes to inspire students to think critically about learning and books through the lens of her experience in China.


Photo courtesy Dorothea Black.



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