The Fulbright Hays Group Project Abroad Selects Ms. Pederson

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The Fulbright Hays Group Project Abroad Selects Ms. Pederson

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At ACP Erie, we pride ourselves on celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our faculty alongside our students. Our faculty and staff are wonderful individuals whose integrity and passion in their jobs have shown how special they are and how essential their presence is on our campus. One specific faculty member we would like to recognize this week is Mandarin Chinese teacher, Ms. Caroline Pederson. According to the Knightly Letter, Ms. Pederson was selected as one of twelve teachers nationally to participate in the Fulbright Hays Group Project Abroad in China. There, she will study China’s educational system and work alongside individuals from the University of Arizona to develop the Chinese language curricular resources at the East China Normal University in Shanghai during the 2019 summer.

When I learned about her selection to participate in this program, I interviewed Ms. Pederson to understand what the Fulbright Hays Group Project Abroad is and what she expects to be doing while working with her team during this summer. Ms. Pederson was generous enough to provide me detailed responses that more than adequately answered my inquiries, enthusiastically explaining everything she knows about this program:

Ms. Caroline Pederson pictured here

Q: What is the Fulbright Hays Group Project Abroad exactly?

A: Fulbright grant programs pay for travel and project expenses through the US Department of Education for international research projects, and curriculum development (development of teaching materials), and advanced foreign language study. The GPA program is a discretionary grant program designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States by providing training opportunities for faculty, teachers, and upperclassmen and (or) graduate students in foreign countries outside of Western Europe and where the United States has diplomatic representation. Awards are made under the program to conduct overseas group projects in research, training, curriculum development, and advanced foreign language study.  The program is named after former US Senator J. William Fulbright, who introduced the legislation that created the program.

Q: How does the selection for this opportunity happen? (essentially, why were you chosen, and how does the process of choosing teachers work?)

A: Interested teachers, administrators, students, and university professors across the United States submit an application with information about their education, experience teaching, their plans to develop lessons for their classroom from the experience, and career goals to the Fulbright GPA China program. From the applications, finalists were selected and interviewed. For the Fulbright GPA China program, 12 program participants were chosen based on the information in their applications and their interviews. Selection, per Fulbright, is based on academic and professional excellence and leadership potential.

Q: How did you feel when you found out you were selected?

A: I was excited about the opportunity; I did not expect to be chosen.  I am looking forward to the opportunity to work together with other teachers on the program and to collect and develop materials while in China to use in my classroom.

Q: What do you expect to learn from this opportunity?

A: I hope to develop and improve units for my Mandarin 1 and 4 classes on school systems in China by collecting, in person, up-to-date information while there and working with a team to develop lesson plans using the information we collect. I hope to get to better know and learn more about modern China and Chinese school systems, as well as learning more about what life is like for everyday students and teachers in China. I am excited to further my knowledge of Mandarin both through formal classes and through the everyday ground activities and conversations.

Q: How long will you be in China, and what activities do you believe you will be doing while with Project Abroad?

A: The program starts with pre-departure study and preparation for a week at the University of Arizona in Tucson where I will meet the other participants and prepare for my trip to China. Afterward, I will spend about a month in China during this summer for the project. I will be living on the campus of East China Normal University in Shanghai, China during the program. I will have Chinese language classes for two hours daily throughout the program to increase my knowledge of Mandarin Chinese and develop a more in-depth vocabulary related to my project.  I will have the opportunity to meet with and work alongside other teachers and professors in China who are partnering in the project, along with the eleven other educators from the United States. I will be attending workshops and expert guest-speaker presentations on the Chinese educational systems and society. Our group will be making visits in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing to schools and universities, museums, historical sites, and cultural sites to collect information, speak with and interview people, and find resources to use in the classroom lessons we will be developing.

The Fulbright Hays Group Project Abroad sounds absolutely fascinating, and we’re quite happy Ms. Pederson is able to participate in this program. To be able to first-handedly experience what the Chinese school system is like and what the culture and customs are like in China is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity many do not have the chance to encounter.

We congratulate Ms. Pederson on her selection for this program and hope she will have an experience in China that is both educational and fun! We anticipate  her return after the summer to learn more about her visit there and what her involvement in the program was like.

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The Fulbright Hays Group Project Abroad Selects Ms. Pederson