The Teacher Education Reciprocal Learning Program (RLP) was developed in 2010 between the University of Windsor and Southwest University (SWU) China, and in partnership with the Greater-Essex County District School Board.
The program is a foundational component of Drs. Xu & Connelly’s (2013-2020) SSHRC Partnership Grant Project entitled “Reciprocal Learning in Teacher Education and School Education between Canada and China”. The goals of RLP are to provide an exceptional experience with international engagement, to broaden teacher candidates’ horizons for a society of increasing diversity, and to foster international collaboration among faculty members who are interested in cross-cultural studies and multicultural education (Xu, 2011).
Each Fall, 20 students and a guide professor from SWU, China, come to the University of Windsor to observe classes in local Windsor schools and to audit courses in the pre-service program at the Faculty of Education while participating in the SSHRC Partnership Grant research project. University of Windsor teacher candidates are recruited to participate in the RLP in the Fall and then these teacher candidates make the Reciprocal Learning trip to China in the Spring. There have been nine rounds of pre-service student exchange between the two universities since 2010.
Since September 2014, Dr. Xu has worked with Mitacs Globalink which provides Canadian students with Mitacs Globalink Research Awards ($6,000 each applicant) to participate in research-oriented international internships in China. This funding has served to assist teacher candidates in financing their trip to China.
Since 2015, 5 cohorts of University of Windsor teacher candidates have received this award which in turn supported them in their 12-week journey to China where they were exposed to a fruitful learning and research experience at Southwest University and Chongqing schools. During the exchange, students are enabled by auditing pre-service education courses, attending seminars and workshops, participating in cultural events and field trips, and observing classes with teaching opportunities in local schools.
A further strength of RLP began in 2014, when the inaugural International Conference on West-East (WE) Reciprocal Learning in Education was held. Since that time, the international conference has been interchangeably held annually by Canadian and Chinese partner institutions in Windsor, Shanghai, Chongqing, Toronto and Changchun under the sponsorship of the Canada-China Reciprocal Learning in Teacher Education and School Education SSHRC Partnership Grant Project (Xu, Connelly et al., 2013-2020).
The 2019 Annual International Conference on WE Reciprocal Learning in Education will be held at the University of Windsor from Oct 2nd to 6th, 2019. The conference aims at developing an inclusive space for educators and researchers to engage in reciprocal learning as collaborative partnership, and to share and co-create educational experiences, knowledge and wisdom for a more harmonious, just and democratic world.
Photo: Dr. Xu with teacher candidates from the University of Windsor and Southwest University, China with Kaleb’s family, 2018 Fall
Dr. Shijing Xu, Canada Research Chair in International and Intercultural Reciprocal Learning in Education is an outstanding member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor. Dr. Xu explores research that looks at educational similarities and differences between two cultures and aims to explore how teachers can reciprocally learn from each other. Her research program focuses on identifying educational needs and issues shared by stakeholders in both Canada and China and builds a connection to bring people together from both educational research and practice to learn from one another in a diverse and interdependent world.
Photo: Meeting with OISE/University of Toronto Dr. Connelly and the TDSB for the sister school network with Shanghai
Photo: Dean Montgomery and Dr. Xu with UW teacher candidates at Bashu Primary School in Chongqing, China, May 2018
Photo: Dr. Xu with UW 2015 cohort at a local school in Chongqing
Sister School Network between Windsor and Chongqing forms an extension of the Teacher Education Reciprocal Learning Program. Since 2013, Dr. Shijing Xu, work-ing with Dr. Clara Howitt at the Greater Essex County District School Board, and Drs. Shijian Chen and Yibing Liu at Southwest University, have set up nine sister school pairings between Windsor GECDSB and Chongqing schools.
Monthly Skype meetings between sister school pairs along with other social media, such as Twitter, WeChat Groups, and QQ Groups, have been set up to build a reciprocal learning cultural bridge among schools in Canada and China.
Through the annual conferences, Canadian and Chinese sister school principals and teachers have visited each other’s schools for reciprocal learning.
These onsite school visits have significantly enhanced the cross-cultural dialogue and reciprocal learning between Canadian and Chinese school systems. Reciprocal learning has taken place not only between the Chinese and Canadian school administrators and teachers but also between Canadian and Chinese children as we identify and appreciate the strengths of both educational systems.
Below are the Windsor schools that have participated in the Sister School Network between 2013 and 2018
Eastwood Public School (K-8)
Glenwood Public School (K-8)
Prince Edward Public School (K-8)
Queen Victoria Public School (K-8)
Talbot Trail Public School (K-8)
Tecumseh Vista Academy (K-12)
Vincent Massey Secondary School (9-12)
Walkerville Collegiate Institute (9-12)
West Gate Public School (K-8)
In addition, a Windsor and Beijing sister school network has been established between Kingsville Public School (K-8), Centennial Central Public School and the Primary School Affiliated with China Agricultural University in Beijing(1-6).
Canada-China SSHRC Partnership Grant Project: