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AACTE Members Report Global Exchanges as Leaders Explore New Partnership With China

Sharon Robinson addresses the China Teacher Leaders Forum. Photo courtesy of East China Normal University

Thank you for responding to AACTE’s survey earlier this year about members’ international activities. We were excited to hear from 142 of you about your established partnerships, new ventures, and suggestions for AACTE to take up the global agenda.

The survey results seem to reflect the growing emphasis, at least among the subset of educator preparation providers (EPPs) that responded, on international exchange and competitiveness as educators in our global society seek to learn from and share with colleagues around the world.

Most respondents (95%) reported institution-level partnerships with foreign institutions for student/faculty exchange. Just over half reported EPP-level involvement through activities such as student exchanges and study abroad/internship programs in addition to activities led by faculty and third-party organizations. And some of you have been at this for a long time: Ten percent of respondents reported more than 10 years of involvement in global activities, and six respondents reported more than 20 years of activities!

While one third of respondents indicated institutional resources support the coordination of their global activities, another half said they do not have an organized effort to identify and initiate potential opportunities. Forty-five percent of respondents said they would like additional opportunities for study abroad/internship/student teaching, faculty/student exchange, and collaboration but do not know where to begin.

The survey also asked what role members want AACTE to play in organizing and facilitating global engagement. Respondents suggested that the Association focus an Annual Meeting theme on best practices in international activities in teacher education, create a list of agencies and brokers who are working with EPPs on tailored programs for teacher candidates, and organize a consortium of members to increase capacity for global work.

In addition to the survey, the AACTE Board of Directors has authorized staff to initiate some activities to expand global engagement opportunities for members beyond the existing partnerships and programs. One such activity kicked off with a visit to China last month, sponsored by Chinese education agencies, that explored potential exchange and collaboration between our countries’ educators (see this article about some of the planned work).

Sharon Robinson and Mark LaCelle-Peterson of AACTE join the audience listening to educators at the China Teacher Leaders Forum. Photo courtesy of East China Normal University

AACTE President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson and Senior Vice President Mark LaCelle-Peterson were among the invited guests at the mid-July meetings in Beijing and Shanghai. There, they learned about the professional support system China has for practicing teachers as well as some of the innovative activities the Chinese Ministry of Education is proposing to support the transformation of the country’s entire education system.

During this trip, Robinson and LaCelle-Peterson visited with officials from the National Center for School Curriculum and Textbook Development at the Ministry of Education and the Chinese Society of Education, as well as numerous education and business leaders, to discuss learning opportunities and performance measures for educators from both China and the United States. They also attended the China Teacher Leaders Forum 2016 and delivered keynote speeches that highlighted unique characteristics of the two countries’ education systems and shared perspectives on professional exchanges. As a result, several potential opportunities were presented for AACTE and U.S. EPPs; details will become available in the coming months as leaders finalize their plans.

In addition to the opportunities in China, AACTE is beginning to explore other ways for members to engage in other regions of the world such as Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, South America, and Australia.

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Sungti Hsu

Director of State Affiliate and Partnership Support