Small groups of students at both Leighton and Minetto elementary schools provided insight to Chinese professors who recently spent two weeks in the Oswego community, as a first-of-its-kind component of a partnership of SUNY Oswego.
At Leighton, students Alicia Cantu, Maggie O’Leary and Leah McRae participated in a panel discussion, in which the Chinese professors received information and asked questions on the cultural differences between student academics and social activities. A few of those professors were impressed with O’Leary’s description of Battle of the Books and quickly wrote down a description of the friendly, competitive event. A handful of the other Chinese professionals explained how competitive schools are in China and asked the Leighton sixth-graders how they deal with their stress and balance their lives.
Yaqin (Maggie) Chen, of Central China Normal University in Wuhan, China, said the visit to Leighton helped her better understand how primary and secondary teachers in China can help build up students to prepare them for the competitive university process.
Leighton Principal Kara Shore said the Chinese professors also spent time in various classrooms throughout the building to become more immersed in an American school day. Barbara Beyerbach, SUNY Oswego education professor, said “the child-oriented, inquiry based, technology-rich curriculum” that is offered locally offered new insight to the Chinese faculty, all of whom had an opportunity for cultural exchange and dialogue. Beyerbach said she was hopeful another Chinese delegation would visit Oswego schools next school year.