Professor Forrest Parkay is eager to introduce students to the friends and faculty he’s met off the beaten path in China’s mountainous southwestern Yunnan Province. But first, he’s been getting lessons of his own in the complexities of setting up what would be the College of Education’s first study abroad course, Education in China.
At this week’s Education Abroad Fair in Pullman, Forrest spoke excitedly about the opportunity, which would start with a five-day stay in Beijing Normal University and even include a visit to Shangri-La. But one of the most compelling attractions for any student would be the experience that Forrest would pack along on the May 15-June 18 adventure. His connections to Asia began in 1996 as a Fulbright scholar in Thailand, where he has traveled two dozen times.
“My collaborative activities in China began in earnest around 2005,” he says. “I’ve been there about 10-12 times. One of my doctoral students, Vincent Nix, actually lives and works in Kunming, the location for most of our Education in China program this summer. About two months ago, he defended his dissertation here. Another one of my WSU doctoral students, Qi Li, is now a full professor at Beijing Normal University.”
Forrest’s many publications include co-authoring the textbook Becoming a Teacher, now in its eight printing and being translated into Chinese. He’ll be talking about the study-abroad course (and offering free pizza) during the noon hour Friday, January 22, in Room 202 of Pullman’s Education Addition.
We really do know what makes great teaching. Teach for America allows an Atlantic author access to 20 years of experimentation, studded by trial and error. The results, she reports, are specific and surprising. “Things that you might think would help a new teacher achieve success in a poor school—like prior experience working in a low-income neighborhood—don’t seem to matter. Other things that may sound trifling—like a teacher’s extracurricular accomplishments in college—tend to predict greatness.”