DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Chinese teachers visit COE

College of Education extends expertise to teachers from China

Chinese teacher visit
Teachers from Beijing collaborate in a breakout session during their visit to the College of Education. Since 2015, DePaul has coordinated training for teachers from China to learn strategies and methods to better engage students. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
For three weeks this fall, the College of Education’s Office of Innovative Professional Learning hosted 23 teachers from the Haidian district of Beijing, China. The teachers attended extensive teacher training workshops, graduate classes and visited Chicago public and private K-12 schools. The Ministry of Education in Beijing selected The OIPL for this program based on a long-standing record of successful teacher training the office has coordinated with China since 2015. ​

Beginning in 2015, Donna Kiel, an instructional assistant professor in the College of Education, has coordinated training for teachers in China to answer their request to learn innovative strategies and methods to engage students in creativity and critical thinking. Though both of these concepts are educational goals of China’s Ministry of Education, Kiel also believes global engagements is a hallmark of the College of Education.

“The programs we have offered in China provide an opportunity for our faculty to extend their expertise in new contexts and cultures,” Kiel says. 

The most recent venture was a tremendous undertaking of cultural exchange. For three weeks, the teachers from China engaged in professional development for eight hours a day covering topics including learning styles, arts integration and instilling positive mindsets in students. In the evenings, they had the chance to attend master’s classes at the College of Education to further their learning experiences. 

At the end of each week Kiel and her team took the educators to an array of different schools across the city that are affiliated with DePaul. From Cardinal Bernardin Montessori School to DePaul College Prep High School to Chicago Public Schools, the teachers sampled the diversity of Chicago’s educational institutions to further enhance their experiences. 

Not only was this program a great learning experience from a teaching perspective, it was also a cultural exchange.

“It was a wonderful cultural exchange and experience of global learning, Kiel says. “It united two cultures, highlighting not only differences to learn from, but also commonality to bond over. The most prevalent was our love for teaching and learning.”

In addition to assuring teaching and learning for everyone involved, the program also allowed DePaul faculty to display their expertise. 

“I now have a deeper fondness and appreciation for the quality of our faculty,” Kiel says. “They were always willing and flexible in adapting to our guests, their learning styles and the content they were interested in.”

For Kiel, the effects of international collaboration have not ended since the teachers left. OIPL will facilitate two 10-day teacher training sessions in China in December and January, with more on the horizon. 

“It’s programs like these that help spread the DePaul mission,” Kiel says. “This program is evidence of the DePaul mission in practice. It is the ‘Vincentian personalism’ come to life.”

View a photo gallery of the visit in Newsline​.​​