On Saturday we had a sightseeing tour. Some of us went to the Great Wall. It was a very impressive experience considering both the amazing view and especially if you think the history of the Great wall. Half of the group went to the Tian’anmen’s square with two teachers from Janesville. It was a breath taking place to visit because of its’ history, huge size, monumental buildings and unreal security system. Even though the temperature (+37°C) and the humidity were high we all had a marvellous time!
Raini at Tian’anmen’s Square
Our local guide, young English teacher Steven, Anu, Minna and Tiina
In the evening we all GEC educators gathered together to have dinner at famous Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. We all ate Beijing’s roasted duck with great appetite. The duck was absolutely delicious! It amazed us how carefully every part of the duck was prepared so well. This was a perfect way to end our conference week – eating with GEC family and sharing different sorts of dishes symbolizes our global cooperation.
Famous Beijing’s roasted duck
Part of our conference program was to get to know more of China and it’s rich culture. Finnish team got lessons on Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting and traditional music. It is wonderful how proud the pupils and the teachers are of their cultural heritage. Chinese calligraphy is part of the curriculum in China but paper cutting and playing an instrument are optional.
Tiina and Chinese calligraphy
Kati and Chinese paper cutting
Minna and Chinese traditional instrument
Eating with chopsticks was a bit challenging but we learned by practicing daily at the hotel and school’s cafeteria. For us the Chinese food was excellent: full of tasty vegetables, spicy chicken, fish, meat and pork, soups, dumplings and fresh tastes. As dessert there was always fresh seasonal fruits.
Drinking tea is part of Chinese culture and very popular in China. We were honoured to participate in Chinese tea ceremony in a very beautiful Tea House. We tasted many different kinds of teas and learned some health effects of them. We bought tens of tea packets from there.
Beth from Janesville and Anu at tea tasting
One key issue in collaborating globally is to understand other countries’ Education systems. We had a Panel discussion session where every country introduced their Education system. Moreover, to understand some practical issues One day at school examples were presented.
Australian team – Gavin Hayes and Tim Coakley
Canadian team – Michelle Cordy and Jonathan So
US team from Butler – Marielle Slagel
US team from Janesville – Karen Schultz, Eric Wahl and Chris Kohn
Finnish team – Minna Kukkonen, Raini Sipilä and Paavo Oksanen
Chinese team – Dr. Kan Wei and Principal Li, Xiaoqi
Finnish team Anu Kahri and Kati Sormunen told about projects made in Finland. Teachers from China were very interested in projects and they asked many questions about them. Questions concerned planning, evaluation, content, skills needed and Finnish educational context. Chinese teachers are very willing to change their teaching style but they also seemed to be a little bit afraid of new roles of teacher as learners’ guide. The key message from Finnish teachers’ is: there is no progress without mistakes!
Giant panda playing in Beijing Zoo.
On this year’s conference participating teachers were supposed to give demos of their project based learning units. Every group worked with pupils in their unique way. Finnish team began with drama exercises to “break ice” and getting to know pupils. First pupils were quite shy but later on they began to work eagerly in Finnish way. Everyone enjoyed! Pupils from the fifth grade (11 years) were from Beijing Cuiwei Primary School.
Pupils and teachers are the same everywhere! We have the same goal: understanding between cultures and learning 21st Century skills.
The theme bridge was learned in many ways. Building different types of shapes and constructions with peas and sticks was an enthusiastic experience to both pupils and teachers.
The third international GEC Conference was held in Beijing, China from the 6th July to 10th of July 2015. GEC members from all over the world came to feel the atmosphere of global educational community.
The second from the right Head of Innokas Network Tiina Korhonen from University of Helsinki and her team: Innokas Coordinators Minna Kukkonen from City of Espoo and Kati Sormunen from University of Helsinki, teachers Anu Kahri from Jalavapuisto School (Espoo), Paavo Oksanen, Koulumestari School (Espoo) and Raini Sipilä, SYK (Helsinki).
Educators from Australia, Canada, China, Finland and the United States.