Spotlight

Things Schools Can Do Now

Yong Zhao, director of the U.S.-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence at Michigan State University, believes schools can, on their own, take actions to cultivate the necessary skills needed for the 21st century global society, without waiting for major national or state policy changes.

He recommends some actions that schools can take and resources he believes can be useful.

  • Learn more about globalization. The Asia Society’s International Education website is a great starting point as a resource on international education and foreign language study: http://asiasociety.org/education-learning

  • Develop international partners. With the help of technology, schools can now establish and maintain productive educational exchanges at relatively low cost. Many organizations have been working to support international school partnerships. Oracle has developed a platform and supported international networking of schools: www.think.com. Potential international partnership schools can be found through ePals: http://epals.com

  • Offer foreign languages through technology. If schools cannot employ full-time language teachers, they can take advantage of online instruction. The Confucius Institute at Michigan State University offers online high school Chinese courses through Michigan Virtual High School: http://confucius.msu.edu

  • Engage in teacher and student exchanges. Exchanging teachers with international schools is a way to bring an international dimension to the curriculum and staff. Although limited, the federal Fulbright teacher exchange program offers support in this area: http://www.fulbrightteacherexchange.org/