Gao spent last week visiting Ron Lindsey, superintendent of Green School, as part of a U.S.-China foreign exchange program for superintendents and principals. Eight other Chinese educators came to the United States with Gao and are visiting schools all across Ohio this week. Gao was accompanied by his translator — Dr. Kejing Liu, from the teacher education department of Shawnee State University.
“Mr. Lindsey has made a lot of preparation for this. As soon as (Gao) entered the grade school he saw greeting signs everywhere and signs of friendship with China can be seen everywhere. When he met students they all said hello in Chinese to him. He was very impressed,” Liu said, translating for Gao.
While spending time in southern Ohio, Gao also visited Ashland (Ky.) City Schools, MRDD, Detention Center, Career Technical Center, and South Central Ohio Educational Services Center.
“He has been in some classrooms in the grade school district and here we emphasize a lot of doing ability — learning by doing. Classrooms are still in the center and allow positive interaction going on between the teacher and the students. The most impressive lessons was the history lesson and the other was the social science lesson about the panda,” Liu said. “The teacher employed a lot of visual aides. For example the teacher brought to class the picture of panda and food, bamboo, that panda will eat. The teacher will let students touch the bamboo, feel the bamboo, and really understand and comprehend what living style the panda have. He’s sure the students will remember the lesson vividly.”
Lindsey said it has been a fabulous experience having Gao at Green School, and said he’s never seen the students so excited about a guest. In the final days at Green schools, students presented Gao with a quilt to remember his visit.
“He felt the students and the teachers of the grade school district made a quilt with their heart, and the quilt is made by each of the grades in the elementary. The students expressed their friendship and love towards the children in China. When he goes back to China, he will definitely share the quilt with all his faculty, staff and students. He will hang the quilt in his office,” Liu said, still translating for Gao.
Following his visit at Green, Gao and the other visiting educators will have a brief stay in California before going back to China.
“This week is his most busy week, and happy week, and he will remember this week in all his life,” Liu said. “Mr. Lindsey and his wife did a fabulous job, and he spent his whole week with him. Last weekend, for example, Mr. Lindsey and his wife made a mini-Thanksgiving dinner in honor for him, and all his family came to meet Mr. Gao. He was very impressed and moved.”
Gao thanked the Lindseys for making him feel at home in southern Ohio, but said the most exciting part of his visit was having the opportunity to fly an airplane with Mr. Lindsey.
“That was his first time in his life to pilot an airplane,” Liu said for Gao.
In return for hosting Gao at Green School, Lindsey will participate in the program himself, visiting Gao in China in April 2010 at no expense to the Green school district.
“His office overlooks the Three Gorges Dam, which I’m very interested to see. It’s the largest dam in the world. Very beautiful. I think ... Hubei is also the center of the beginning of Chinese culture. So I am very fascinated to visit there,” Lindsey said.
More information about the Yichang Foreign Language School, in China, can be found online at www.ycfls.com, and can be translated from traditional Chinese using babelfish.yahoo.com.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or e-mail email@example.com.