The Palmyra School District's Director of Assessment, Accountability & Special Projects, Dr. Peter Lutchko, received a Fulbright Hays Grant to travel to Taiwan this summer. The exciting four week project, Advancing Core Taiwanese Values in Turbulent Times: A post-COVID Reflection and Curricular Exploration, aims to develop an understanding of Mandarin and Taiwanese culture and support efforts to infuse new information into various curriculum areas such as art, social studies/history, health/PE, counseling, and nursing.
Here's what he has to share in his first report:
Nĭ Hăo (Hello/How are you) from Taiwan ! I wanted to share some highlights from my trip so far.
This first week has been really informative and intensive. In addition to our morning three-hour language classes with cultural immersion, I was able to meet with our sister school Xin-Xing Elementary School in Taichung, Taiwan! The hospitality received was unmatched. I was fortunate to be joined by some other scholars for my meeting. You can see from the pics below that they are already embracing the Palmyra Pride and PAWS UP.
The cooperating teacher picked us up from the train station platform and got us a taxi to the school. While there we had tea/fresh fruit/ snacks with the school director (principal), cooperating teacher, and English teacher. Then we received a martial arts and musical performance from teachers. This was followed by a tour of the school where we got to tour the library and do a lesson (where they had Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice and whole section books that were English/Chinese together), complete a STEM lesson, see the students' roller-blading club in action, and tour their classrooms. The campus is beautiful, as seen in this picture.
In addition, we visited another elementary school where students gave us speeches in near-perfect English and provided us a musical performance! It was amazing to see. We met with a Canadian professor that is now providing PD to teachers here as they move to fully teaching curricula in English by 2030 per the Taiwanese government (an ambitious stretch goal for sure!) We actually got to watch the PD in action!
We also met with the cooperating university's (National Taiwan Normal University- NTNU) head of PE Education department and it was interesting to see how they have some of the same problems we do. Today we visited their medical Technology University and talked about how they handled COVID, how they partner globally, and saw some of their unique state of the art facilities. We ended with a evening authentic “Tea time” experience sponsored by the University.
I am excited to keep you up to date about the rest of my endeavors and continue these partnerships when I return to Palmyra. The Fulbright experience is really something completely immersive and this is fueling ideas for our future.