NEW BRITAIN - About a dozen Chinese educators visited CREC Academy on Thursday morning to learn about the school’s curriculum and teaching practices.
The teachers from Guangdong province are in Connecticut this week studying the state’s science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM, programs. Thursday was CREC’s turn.
“They specifically want to learn about the American way of teaching, the American classroom, and specifically from us, how we do STEM,” said Lauren Amaturo, magnet theme coach at CREC.
The educators from China teach a variety of subjects in their home country, among them physics, chemistry, geography and history.
“In the whole province, there are 1.2 million teachers. We chose from that 1.2 million the best of the best,” said Zhen Peng, the group leader. “The purpose is to train them to become the teacher leaders so they can teach this in their own schools.”
Peng explained that the educators visit different parts of the world regularly to see how other countries teach their children.
“There are lots for us to learn from you as well,” Amaturo told the Chinese teachers.
Throughout the morning, the Chinese educators visited various STEM-related classes, including Robert Polselli’s robotics class.
“The kids do everything from fly drones to learn about other forms of aviation,” Polselli said.
Austin Raymond-Tricka, a senior in Polselli’s class, showed the Chinese visitors a drone he uses to capture aerial footage.
“Dr. Po gave me the opportunity to fly this for the commercial for CREC because he saw I was a very good pilot,” Raymond-Tricka said to the group before showing a commercial he shot using the drone.
The drone costs about $2,500 and was equipped with a 4K camera, GPS system and lithium batteries that last about 30 minutes on a charge.
Polselli, who is also a licensed flight instructor, explained that the skills students learn using drones and robotics can lead to careers.
“If I were to do this work for a company, it would have cost between 8,000 and 12,000 U.S. dollars,” Polselli said of the commercial. “Austin did all that work after just having class with me and working one-on-one a little bit.”
Overall, the educators seemed eager to bring what they learned back their own schools.
“Teachers really appreciate the opportunity to see the classrooms and observe lessons,” said Muhang Huang, a professor and associate dean at South China Normal University, through a translator.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Skyler Frazer on Twitter @SFrazerNBH