Yuhan Deng comforts Xun YuanUWindsor’s Yuhan Deng comforts Xun Yuan from Southwest University as her time in Canada comes to an end.

Hugs and tears mark send-off of Chinese teacher candidates

A three-month immersion in Canada’s education system came to an end Dec. 12 for almost 20 teacher candidates from Chinese universities.

Hailing from Chongqing’s Southwest University and Suzhou’s Soochow University, the participants in the Reciprocal Learning Teacher Education Program shadowed teachers in schools belonging to both the Greater Essex County and the Windsor Essex Catholic district school boards.

A potluck dinner gave them a chance to say goodbye and thanks to their placement hosts, UWindsor faculty, and exchange peers.

Dean of education Ken Montgomery applauded their commitment to honing their professional skills.

“I have every confidence that in fact you have left quite an impression and quite an impact on us at the Faculty of Education, and more broadly in community and in the school systems,” he said.

Jackie Connelly, principal of Westgate Public School, said the teacher candidates pitched in to help with a breakfast program that serves 140 students each day.

“It was very nice,” she said. “I feel that we became very much a family, we cared about them and they cared about us.”

The exchange guests made presentations on their academic and cultural learning experiences before sharing hugs and tears of farewell. The event celebrated the 10th circle of exchanges of Canadian and Chinese teacher candidates under the program, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as a partnership directed by UWindsor education professor Shijing Xu and Michael Connelly of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Southwest University professor Xi He summarized the feelings of the 2019 participants in three words: gratitude, growth, and harvest.

“We established a life-long friendship with students from the University of Windsor,” she said. “We have also developed mutual trust with teachers and students in schools.”

Read a full account of the potluck event on the program website.

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