The New Year has passed in the West, but we are gearing up for a the Year of the Rabbit in China! Last year was an important year for setting up my online training programs, but 2011 is the year that things get really interesting: we turn up the heat on our existing web-based training and in-person study abroad programs.
EFET set up an Online Learning Academy last year using BuddyPress, which allows for private social networks built on top of WordPress. Take a look at my school and join a free session of the English Corner Buffet, which is a joint program I offer with Bu Duan Wang. BDW is a Chinese not-for-profit organization which supplements the limited courses offered to primary school students in poor rural areas. Students who don’t get a Science, Math, Chinese or English class can now study in their wired classrooms. Learn more about the volunteers in their goodwill programs on their English site.
Although it is a bit early to be sure, another development is happening for me in China in 2011. With international study abroad programs accepting over 300,000 students last year, and forecasting 645,000 by 2025, more Chinese students are chasing their dreams abroad. However, there is a disconnect between the education systems of their home and guest countries. University professors in America often find that these students lack “critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, and communication skills.”[* 08/11/2010] In the article published on The Diplomat’s website, a principal from Beijing (Jiang Xueqin) was working toward providing better preparation for students who plan to go abroad. Unfortunately, many Chinese parents disagree about what makes a “successful” student. SAT, AP, IELTS, and TOEFL are usually considered the (only) keys to success here.
We can’t ignore the value of these exams for a student’s educational prospects, but no study abroad preparation program would be complete without a strong concentration on building people-skills. That is why I’d also like to take on the challenge of delivering better-prepared Chinese students to western universities and colleges. Of course, we have a lot to learn from how others have started building programs which may increase the chances of achieving this goal.
Ultimately, this year will introduce many challenges but it is going to be a great year! If any of the above topics interest you, please feel free to contact me through Asianliving.me or ben @ efet.info