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ASU partners with Beijing International Studies University

Article Published: Jul. 21, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
ASU partners with Beijing International Studies University

Eighteen faculty members from Beijing International Studies University (BISU) are participating in a three-week English language training program at Appalachian State University.

The program, which began July 11, is providing the Chinese faculty members, who teach English at BISU, opportunities to develop expertise in their subject areas, enhance their English teaching skills, and increase their knowledge of the United States.

The program includes intensive training in English teaching methodologies, teaching strategies and English conversation. In addition to attending seminars at Appalachian, the group will visit various historical sites in North Carolina and Washington, D.C. The training program was funded by BISU.

The program is coordinated by Appalachian's Office of International Education and Development (OIED) with involvement of a multidisciplinary team of faculty members from the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, English, Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Belk Library and Information Commons.

"It has been enriching to meet and interact with the English faculty from BISU, and to talk with them about the research and practice of language teaching in our two countries," said Dr. Catherine Fountain, an assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. "This kind of exchange helps us all to become better teachers through the sharing of ideas. It also heightens awareness of Appalachian on a global level, facilitating further exchanges and connecting our university to other countries and cultures."

The professors attended classes related to formal and conversational English and American slang, experienced-based teaching, contemporary American poetry, use of online tools to teach English and other topics related to teaching the English language and its literature.

Using technology to enhance teaching was one of the techniques the professors are eager to take back to their classrooms in Beijing.

"I learned specific techniques to use when I return to better engage my students and help them learn the English language well," said professor Ma Hui, who teaches advanced English and intensive writing.

According to Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor for international education and development, "This program is part of Appalachian's expanded efforts to engage with Chinese partner universities."

Recently, Appalachian signed a memorandum of agreement with BISU. The relationship between Appalachian and BISU started some years ago when the Chinese university began hosting Walker College of Business students during their short-term, faculty-led programs.

"After hosting our students for several years, it was natural that we moved to formalizing the relationship," Lutabingwa said. "This summer, two Appalachian students enrolled at BISU and studied Chinese. We hope that the BISU English teachers training program at Appalachian will continue to be part of the activities we do together."

"These exchanges are invaluable," English professor Mark Vogel said. "In the process of working together, we each have learned more about the language we speak and write. Surely the Appalachian professors who are teaching these visitors have learned as much about China and its culture, as the Chinese faculty have learned from us. In the process we have quickly developed relationships, which will blossom into opportunities for our students and for ourselves."

Since its founding in 1964, BISU has developed into a multi-disciplinary institution of higher education that offers degrees in foreign languages, tourism management, liberal arts, management, economics, law and philosophy. With more than 10,000 students and more than 800 faculty and staff, BISU seeks to meet China's needs by educating and training its students to become internationally minded professionals who are proficient in foreign affairs, tourism industry, economics, business and trade.

"We are seeing what America is really like," said professor Liao Yungang, who teaches translation and reading. "We don't read as much as we should to know exactly what American culture is. We are seeing with our own eyes what American culture is like."

Appalachian has had a long-term partnership with Fudan University in Shanghai and Soochow University in Suzhou. In addition to BISU, Appalachian has also recently signed memorandums of understanding with Shaanxi Normal University in Xian and Northeastern University in Shenyang.
For more information, contact Lutabingwa at (

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