GENOA – Genoa-Kingston schools impressed Taiwanese school officials Monday with the teaching style exhibited in their STEAM classes as they toured GK facilities.
James Wu, principal of the Taipei Fuhsing Private School, noticed the stark contrast between the two schools. He said in Taiwan, the classes are lecture-based.
"In this curriculum, kids not only learn by the teachers but by themselves," he said. "The students can become lifelong learners."
Dorcas Juan, head of Bilingual Division and director of College Counseling at Taipei Fuhsing Private School, said she and the other school officials traveled to the states to learn about other ways to teach and how they want to transform the way Taipei Fuhsing Private School instructs now in order to better educate their Taiwanese students.
Brent O'Daniell, superintendent for Genoa-Kingston School District, led Wu and other officials from the Taiwanese school Monday morning on a tour through Genoa-Kingston High School and Genoa-Kingston Middle School.
Tiao-Jung Cheng, director of the High School Educational Affairs Division at Fuhsing Private School, said the hands-on activities he saw were really important.
"No one tells them how or what to do," Cheng said.
He noted the teamwork he saw in the different classes, including digital literacy and robotics.
"They have to work together to make it work," Cheng said.
Omar Pacheco, an eighth-grader working on a robotics project with two classmates at Genoa-Kingston Middle School, said he's learning how to problem-solve better.
Abbie Andrews, also an eighth-grader and one of Pacheco's lab partners, said she's learning how to use the different tools in the lab. She said it's tough but worth it.
"Sometimes, I get frustrated easily," Andrews said. "But it's good to know the job skills."
The high school class O'Daniell showed the school officials was "Digital Literacy" and made up of different grade levels.
Instructional Coach Rhonda Andrews explained a cybersecurity project to her group of about 20 students. The students sat in a horseshoe shape as Andrews talked them through step by step how to complete the project, where each student would have to come up with a way to let other students know how to successfully and safely navigate through the internet.
The school officials from Taipei quietly took notes of their own and a couple took photos to document the tour as Andrews continued through the project's instructions. While she explained each step, such as creating an infographic to show cybersecurity statistics and how they relate to students, she'd call on different students to see if they understood what she meant and had them give her examples of what to do in each step.
Minson Peng, curriculum coordinator for Taipei Fuhsing Private School, noted how it seems like American teachers give students more time to work.
Juan said in Taiwan there's more content to cover.
She said the schools in Taiwan have a very different mindset when it comes to how to best teach their students. Basically, it boils down to more work equals more learning.
"Parents expect the students to learn more," Juan said. "If they give a lot of notes, they're a good teacher."
Wu said convincing parents to change what has traditionally worked is hard.
"The school is 75 years old," he said,