Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) recently welcomed a group of three administrators and 13 elementary students from Taiwan. The group had the opportunity to experience several aspects of American culture, including education in a one-to-one environment (one computer device for each student/staff). The Taiwanese came to Mt. Vernon in hopes of learning more of the English language and immersing themselves in the daily schedule as a Mt. Vernon student/teacher.
While at Mt. Vernon, the students experienced a full cultural exchange by attending classes such as robotics, language arts, physical education, and band. They also were exposed to several activities to immerse them in American culture, such as visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Zoo, and attending a Pacers game. Additionally, the students were thrilled to be able to snow for the first time, however, they were not as wild about the cold weather.
Taiwanese students interested in attending the trip to MVCSC had to make a presentation to a committee at their school using the English language. Roughly 300 students had applied; the 13 students that were selected were among their brightest. It was quite an honor and an incredible opportunity for these students to visit MVCSC.
The three administrators on the trip consisted of the Principal of Chunan Elementary School in Miaoli County, Taiwan, Mr. Orick, and two teachers who went by their English names of Rita and Patricia. Patricia had previously visited colleagues in the United States a few times, Principal Orick had visited once before to attend the Global Education Forum in Kokomo, but Rita had never been to America before.
The three Taiwanese educators were very interested to see how teachers conduct their classes at Mt. Vernon. In Taiwan, there is no group study or individual study; all of the lessons are lectures. They were interested to see how Mt. Vernon teachers use technology, such as Chromebooks, and methods other than lecturing in order to engage their classes in the lesson. “Problem-solving learning” is a teaching method that has been recently applied in Taiwan that is believed to have originated from American influence.
Chen Pinhan, who uses the American name Hugo, is an 11-year-old student who came on the trip. Hugo found the trip extremely engaging, but he especially enjoyed gym class and the Pacers game. He describes Mt. Vernon as being “so different” from school in Taiwan. Hugo also really enjoyed the food options in America, particularly pancakes.
The International Exchange program at MVCSC helps expose students to various cultures, opportunities, and worldly experiences. Several high school students have chosen to pursue International studies in college and their careers. The program at Mt. Vernon will continue to incorporate several cultures in the education of each and every student and provide opportunities to experience other countries.