Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.17

June 3, 2004

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Sun Bo takes Western pedagogy East

By Frank Kuin

Photo of Sun Bo

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

Sun Bo credits Concordia with giving her a whole new perspective on education – and she hopes to apply that experience to a teaching career in her native China.

“In the beginning, I didn’t understand the teaching style here,” recalled Sun Bo, who is receiving an MA in Educational Studies after a two-year stint at the University. “My philosophy of what is knowledge and what is teaching was very Chinese.

“In China, students sit in rows, teachers stand in the front, they say something and you memorize it. Here, there’s nothing to memorize, but the professor asks you for your ideas and encourages you to think.”

Eventually, Sun Bo wants to bring these principles back to northern China, where she hopes to become active in adult education.

For her MA thesis, she researched literacy among peasant workers in that region. Peasant workers are migrants from rural areas in China who take on temporary jobs in cities.

Last summer, Sun Bo interviewed many peasant workers in her home town to map the problem of illiteracy. She found that while most workers can read and write, they’re still considered illiterate because they are not “cultured” and their language is a dialect.

She made several recommendations to improve educational practices to this class, such as being more responsive to their particular needs and encouraging them to participate more in social life.

“I have a lot of ideas now, and I want to put them into practice,” she said. “I want to contribute my part to Chinese education. I hope I can work in a social organization, or if I can have enough funds, I could have my own school.”

Before she returns to China, Sun Bo is taking an additional diploma in Instructional Technology at Concordia. She’s happy to spend one more year at the university.

“My perspective on a lot of things has been transformed after studying here for two years,” she said. “People in China told me that I have changed a lot. I am happy to see that change and I really appreciate my experience in Canada and at Concordia.”