Over the summer, St. Mary’s Ryken High School Chinese teacher Grant Castner plans to travel to Shanghai, China, to participate in a Fulbright Group Project Abroad.
In this exchange program, American teachers of various disciplines will collaborate and engage with Chinese teachers, students, principals and parents, eventually taking this knowledge and experience back to share with students in America, according to a release from the school.
“During our month in China, myself and fellow Fulbright participants will be attending talks; visiting museums, historic sites, classrooms, and student homes; watching films; and participating in numerous other exchange activities to broaden our knowledge and respect of Chinese education and its role in China’s society,” Castner said in the release.
He continued, “We will also be taking language classes and reflecting on the progress we have made as instructors of all disciplines sharing Chinese culture and incorporating it into units in our classroom.”
Through all of these activities and curriculum design, Castner hopes to come back to the U.S. better equipped to share information about China with St. Mary’s Ryken students, his colleagues and the surrounding community.
In support of Castner’s project abroad, the Rotary Club of Lexington Park awarded him the John Beaton-Marco Polo Teacher Travel Award. This highly competitive award is provided to select teacher’s for travel to a destination of a their choice for the purpose of enhancing instruction in the classroom.
In May, Castner presented at the National Chinese Language Conference in San Diego on methods for sustaining Chinese language programs. Presenting alongside two native Chinese teachers, Castner and his co-presenters led discussions on how to sustain Chinese language programs in public, charter and private schools.
In November 2018, he also co-presented at the annual conference for The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, where he and his former mentor led a roundtable discussion on “Building Communication Skills Through Routine Activities.”
This roundtable presentation centered on sharing how to use daily conversation activities in the language classroom to foster proficiency in all different levels of foreign language students.