Nanjing, often shortened to “Ning,” is the capital of Jiangsu Province and an important communication, science, research, and education hub in eastern China. It is located upstream of the Yangtze River Delta near several rivers and lakes. Nanjing has 11 districts covering 6,597 square kilometers. Its population totals 8,236,000, 6,704,000 of whom live in the urban core. Nanjing is the only metropolitan area in the heartland of the lower Yangtze River region.
Nanjing is one of the four ancient capitals of China and an important cradle of Chinese civilization. It has long been the political, economic, and cultural center of southern China. Between 1 and 1.2 million years ago, homo erectus lived in the Nanjing area; between 350,000 and 600,000 years ago, “Nanjing Man” man lived in the Tangshan cave near the city. In 229, the Wu emperor Sun Quan established his capital in Nanjing. Song Liu, Qi Xiao, Liang Xiao, and Jun Chen of the eastern and southern Jin dynasties subsequently also made Nanjing their capital city. As a result, Nanjing is called “The Six Capitals.” In addition, Nanjing served as the capital for Yang Wuxi, the Southern Tang Dynasty, the Southern Song Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, and the Republic of China, so the city is also called “the Ten Capitals.”
Nanjing is a vital center for science and education in China. It has a long history of literary and educational accomplishments, earning it the moniker of “The Literary Center” and “The Top School in the Southeast.” During the Ming and Qing dynasties, over half of the top finishers on the imperial examination came from the Jiangnan Examination Hall. In 2013, Nanjing had 74 higher education institutions, including “211 Project” universities, ranking the city third behind Beijing and Shanghai. It is home to 25 national key laboratories performing research in 169 national key disciplines, and 83 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering live in the city, placing it third in China.
Nanjing Teacher Training Project
Since 2006, the Provincial Education Bureau has held the Teacher Training Program project in Nanjing. The Nanjing Education Bureau has attached great importance to this training and makes full use of overseas teachers as a resource to enhance teacher professional development. The goal for local teachers is to participate actively, conduct research, and offer professional service to help their schools become more innovative. Over the past decade, 6,225 teachers from 600 elementary and middle schools have attended this professional development. Subjects included English, early childhood education, and elementary and middle school education.
As part of the English language and culture immersion program, participating teachers have improved their professional skills, studied teaching methods, and broadened their cultural horizons. Interaction with foreign teachers helped participants to improve not only their listening and speaking skills but also their knowledge of Western culture. They learned about multiple classroom management techniques as well as innovative teaching ideas and methods, all of which made them reflect on their own teaching practice. Wei Yuping, a teacher from Gulou District, Nanjing, published an article positing a link between improved research skills and program participation. The positive outcomes of his participation have been cited in the Nanjing key topic of “Secondary English Interactive Writing Training Research,” the Jiangsu Province planning topic of “Primary School Student English Reading Research,” and the national basic education key topic of “Oxford English Module Strategy Research.” In addition, the hospitality and kindness on the part of participating local teachers left the foreign teachers with wonderful memories of their stay and raised Nanjing’s international reputation.
Wuxi, often shortened to “Xi,” is located in southern Jiangsu, inland from the Yangtze Delta plain. It is 1643.88 square kilometers in area (excluding the 397.8 square kilometers of Lake Taihu) with a population of 3,620,900 (2015).
Wuxi City belongs to the northern sub-tropical climate zone, which is known for humid conditions and monsoon rains. It has four distinct seasons, warm weather, and plenty of rain with the heat and rain arriving at the same time of the year. The hottest month of the year is July, and the coldest is January.
Wuxi is an important part of the Jiangsu Yangtze economic zone extending north to the Yangtze River, south to Lake Taihu, east to Suzhou, and west to Changzhou. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal runs through it. Wuxi is famous for its history and culture, earning the title of “Land of Rice and Fish” as well as “Cloth Port,” “Money Port,” “Kiln Port,” “Silk City,” and “Rice City.”
Wuxi Teacher Training Project
Since 2004, the Wuxi Education Bureau has been organizing the summer Teacher Training Project in Wuxi. By 2016, the program had been offered a total of 16 times and had trained almost 2,000 teachers. Because the Education Bureau leadership has placed great importance on careful organization and attention to detail, program administration has been efficient and without impediments. Foreign teachers have enjoyed themselves while participating schools have been very satisfied.
The Education Bureau’s leading role has resulted in significant progress to improve teachers’ communication and classroom management skills and to introduce methodological innovations in all core content areas. Teachers frequently commented that the program enhanced their understanding of educational philosophy, supplemented their content knowledge, and improved their ability to use new teaching methods. At the same time, the Teacher Training Project has strengthened the content knowledge and English communication skills of those teachers who teach bilingual science classes in junior high schools. Knowing and mastering advanced science teaching concepts and methods used in junior high schools abroad broadens the international horizon of bilingual science teachers and improves both their bilingual teaching ability and their research skills. The level of basic education in Wuxi has improved after these years of professional development through the Teacher Training Project program.
Xuzhou, often shortened to “Xu”, known as Pengcheng in ancient times, is located in northwestern Jiangsu Province, west of Lianyungang and north of Suqian. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grant Canal runs through it. Xuzhou is a gateway city in eastern China as well as an important economic, business, and foreign trade center in Jiangsu Province.
At the beginning of recorded history, Emperor Yao Pengzu created the Great Peng Nation. Because Xuzhou was its first capital in Jiangsu, it was called Pengcheng (Peng City). Xuzhou is a famous imperial capital with over 6,000 years of cultural and 2,600 years of urban history. It was home to the Eastern Han and Western Han dynasties and today sports large numbers of cultural heritage sites, tourist attractions, and deep historical roots.
Xuzhou covers 11,258 square kilometers, including 3,037 square kilometers of urban areas. Its topography consists mainly of a vast plain that takes up 90 percent of the city. It has five urban districts, three counties, and two county-cities. Xuzhou belongs to the humid sub-tropical monsoon climate zone and has four distinct seasons.
Xuzhou Teacher Training Project
Since 2005, the Xuzhou Education Bureau has offered a provincial summer Teacher Training Project program; it is ranked highest among all the cities and counties in Jiangsu and by 2016 had held 12 years’ worth of professional development opportunities, training up to 8,000 teachers. The program has won the support of local city and county education departments. Training sites have distinguished themselves through efficient organization and attentive services, earning many favorable reviews in the process.
In terms of language, teaching, and culture, the Teacher Training Project has helped English teachers in Xuzhou immerse themselves in interactive training. As part of this professional development, teachers have enjoyed systematic practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Foreign expert teachers in charge of each workshop choose interactive communication activities, action learning, and the use of projects to accomplish the goal of participation and transfer of training.
As a result of their participation, teachers increased their vocabulary, improved their listening and speaking skills, developed a desire to continue upgrading their English proficiency level, and learned about foreign education systems and trends as well as modern instructional design and methods. They expanded their horizons, broadened their knowledge, modified their beliefs and attitudes, and became reinvigorated to persist in their efforts. These professional development sessions laid a firm foundation to foster the growth of core subject proficiency among professional teachers.
Changzhou, a prefecture-level city in Jiangsu located on the southern bank of the Yangtze River next to Lake Taihu and the center of the Yangtze River delta, is one of the major cities in the area, an advanced manufacturing center that is also famous for culture and tourism. Changzhou became a city only in 1949 but has been a well-known cultural center for over 3,200 years. Since 2015, it has had five urban and suburban districts, including Tianning, Zhonglou, Xinbei, Wujin, Jintan, and one county-level city, Liyang. It covers 4,385 square kilometers in area.
Changzhou is the site of the Yangtze River and Wu cultures. It was also the capital of the Qi and the Liang dynasties and was called the center of the Wu Nation. Changzhou has many tourist attractions, including the CC Joyland amusement park, Zhonghua Dinosaur Park, Xixi Valley, and Chunqiuyancheng. It also has the natural sights such as Lake Tianmu, one of the inlets of Lake Taihu, and Lake Ge.
Changzhou Teacher Training Project
The Changzhou Education Bureau held summer Teacher Training Project programs in 2015 and 2016. It is estimated that about 100 teachers from the central, Xinbei, and Wujin districts attended. Participating teachers complemented their foreign colleagues detailed preparation, professionalism, and positive feedback; participants felt comfortable with the relaxed atmosphere and the multiple teaching evaluations. They modified their attitudes through interactive and flexible teaching methods. Teaching and learning complemented each other, and in-class teaching methods were blended effectively. When learning about English teaching methods from abroad, participants exchanged ideas, learned from each other, explored which new concepts and methods were suitable to become permanent features in local schools, and realized the benefits of sharing their knowledge.
Suzhou, called “Wu” in ancient times, is one of the major cities in the Yangtze River Delta. It is a well-known historical city, a center for culture and tourism, and a base for high-tech industrial development. Suzhou is located in southwestern Jiangsu Province, west of Shanghai, north of Jiaxing, east of Lake Taihu, and south of the Yangtze River. Suzhou belongs to sub-tropical maritime climate zone with four distinct seasons and adequate rainfall.
Founded in 514 B.C.E., Suzhou is still in the same location as it was during the Spring and Autumn Period 2,500 years ago and is laid out in a double chessboard pattern with alternating areas of land and water, rivers and streets. Suzhou is one of the first 24 Chinese cities designated as historical and cultural and houses the famous Suzhou Classical Gardens. A symbol of Chinese private gardens, the Suzhou Gardens were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
In 2015, Suzhou consisted of five urban districts, managed on behalf of four county-level cities. It covers 8,488 square kilometers. In February 2016, Suzhou was selected by the National Tourism Bureau to be part of the first national tourism demonstration zone.
Teacher Training Project in Suzhou
Suzhou has a tradition of attaching great importance to culture and education and has provided support for talent development in the 30 years since the beginning of Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening up” directive. The Suzhou Education Bureau insists on a combination of “bringing in” and “going out” to reach the goal of building a high quality international training base that promotes the development of Suzhou’s teachers. Internationally oriented professional development wants to increase teacher professionalism, offer high-quality science education, and enhance quality management through research, planning, and current management techniques.
The Suzhou Education Bureau has increased teachers’ base pay to attract more highly qualified foreign teachers to work in the city. The Suzhou Teacher Training Project program has been part of provincial programs for many years by recruiting foreign teachers and organizing training. In the last two years, some local counties and districts have participated in the provincial Teacher Training Project program as well.
Nantong, often shortened to “Tong,” was called Tongzhou in ancient times. It is located in southeastern Jiangsu Province, west of the Yellow Sea, north of Shanghai across the Yangtze River, east of Suzhou, and connected with Taizhou and Yancheng in the West and North. It has over 5,000 years’ history. Covering 8,544 square kilometers, it has five districts, two counties, and three county-level cities.
As part of China’s recent scientific and educational development, Nantong established seven top institutions: the first normal school, the first folk museum, the first textile school, the first embroidery school, the first opera school, the first school for blind and special needs students, and the first meteorological station, which is why it has been called “The First Modern City in China.”
As the Chinese city with the highest life expectancy, Nantong boasts that its residents live to be almost 81 years old on average. There are 1,031 centenarians living in the city. In May 2014, Nantong was the first city in the world given the title of “Longevity City” by the International Nature Medical Association and the World Longevity Certification Commission.
Nantong Teacher Training Project
In order to make better use of foreign teacher resources, to learn about advanced teaching methods and subject content, and to promote the professional development of qualified teachers, Nantong has participated in the provincial Teacher Training Project program since 2005.
To support elementary and middle school teachers, the Education Bureau has used Nantong Normal Higher Training School and Nantong University as sites where teachers train every year in July. By the end of 2016, almost 3,300 teachers had been trained. Elementary and middle grades English teachers have been trained with good results, but the Bureau has also begun to train other teachers, inviting 90 elementary school art teachers to be trained in 2016.
Lianyungang, often shortened to “Lian,” was known in the West as “Haizhou.” Its name comes from the fact that it faces Lian Island, that it is close to Yuntai Mountain, the highest mountain in Jiangsu Province, and that it is a port city. Lianyungang is located on the eastern coast of China north of the Yangtze River Delta.
Lianyungang, the major city in the Jiangsu Coastal Open Economic Zone, is a national innovative experimental city, an international port city, and one of China’s ten seaports. It is known for beautiful scenery and is called “the most beautiful city on the East Sea.” Lianyungang has large areas of coastal wetlands and mudflats where ecologically sustainable fish hatcheries may be founds. It has had the title of “The Land of Plenty” since ancient times.
Lianyungang Teacher Training Project
The Lianyungang Education Bureau held the provincial training program each year from 2005 to 2014. With the organizational support of the municipal education bureau offered at every training site, it has trained about 2,500 elementary and middle school teachers in a decade and has received positive feedback from teachers.
Although the professional development lasted only a few weeks, participating teachers commented that they developed well-rounded professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes. As a result of their participation, teachers have become more confident in their abilities compared with their previous skill levels. Especially their English listening and speaking skills have increased significantly, and they are now ready to communicate and express themselves in English. Moreover, teachers’ classroom skills have improved because they learned how to inspire students and foster their desire to study English, work in teams, situate English learning in a meaningful context, and select teaching materials that offer maximum benefits to students.
Huai’an is located in north-central Jiangsu Province to the east of Jianghuai Plain. It has a large number of lakes and rivers like the Huai River that serves as a vital north-south artery.
Founded during the Qin Dynasty, Huai’an has over 2,200 years of history. It earned the title of “China’s Canal City” because it lies at the intersection of the old Qinhuai River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Along with Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Yangzhou, it is called one of the “Four Big Cities” along the canal. Huai’an has China’s fourth-biggest freshwater lake, Lake Hongze. It is the birthplace of one of the ancient Yangtze River and Huai River cultures and of Huai’an-Yangzhou cuisine.
Huai’an has produced several notable residents. Wu Chengen, the author of Journey to the West, and the first prime minister of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou Enlai, both called Huai’an their home.
Huai’an’s Teacher Training Project
Huai’an began to participate in the Teacher Training Project in 2005. By 2016, it had trained over 2,500 teachers. This professional development program is designed to improve teaching methods and standards in applied classes, increase the amount of training received by rural teachers, supplement teacher professional development content and effectiveness, enhance subject matter proficiency, and advance classroom teaching skills.
Over the years, municipal authorities, which plan the training, have attached great importance to the Huai’an Teacher Training Project’s efforts. All training sites ensured full support of every step of the program; foreign teachers prepared interactive lessons that were delivered skillfully; and local teachers participated actively. With the help of this program, the language proficiency level of the English teachers in Huai’an has been raised, and their overall ability to deliver quality instruction has been increased.
Yancheng is located in the middle of Jiangsu Province north of Nantong, northeast of Yangzhou and Taizhou, southeast of Huai’an, and south of Lianyungang across the Guan River and borders the Yellow Sea to the East. Its flat terrain is crisscrossed by rivers and canals and is called “the home to rice and fish.” It is the largest prefecture-level city in Jiangsu, covering 17,000 square kilometers with 7,210,600 residents. It encompasses 4,921 square kilometers of urban area with 2,400,000 residents.
Yancheng lies on the transition from the sub-tropical to the temperate climate zones. Because of its proximity to the Yellow Sea, its climate is somewhat maritime. Affected by the monsoon, it has four distinct seasons and adequate rainfall. Heat and the rain arrive at the same time each year. Yancheng has plenty of sunshine and a short winter season. In spring, the temperature is low, and warm weather arrives fairly late; in fall and winter, the temperature is higher than in spring and drops only gradually. In the winter, northerly winds bring much cold weather; in the summer, southerly winds bring much hot weather, humid air, and abundant rain.
Yancheng has the longest coastline and the longest coastline and largest coastal mudflat area of any city in Jiangsu. It is home to the red-crowned crane and the endangered Père David’s deer. Yancheng is called the “the City of Eastern Wetlands, the world of crane and deer” where crane and deer national environmental protection zones were designated in the coastal mudflats.
Yancheng Teacher Training Project
Over the years, Yancheng has strived to become part of the provincial Teacher Training Project. Local education departments attach great importance to this program. The Education Bureau coordinated interested counties and units according to their needs to create a training management model and method. When selecting professional development participants, they concentrated on qualified young teachers based on age. To allow more teachers to have a chance to learn about current international teaching methods, they held a Teacher Training Project meeting, distributed a questionnaire, developed a detailed training plan, and improved the specific content of the training.
Each year, more than ten foreign experts come to Yancheng. It is estimated that hundreds of experts have come to conduct training workshops in Yancheng, and thousands of teachers have benefited from participating.
Yangzhou, also called Guangling, Jiangdu, or Weiyang, is located in the middle of Jiangsu Province at the intersection of the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grant Canal. It is part of the important Yangtze River economic zone and the hub of a major national effort dating back to 486 B.C.E. to divert water from South to North,
Yangzhou has three urban districts (Hanjiang, Guangling, and Jiangdu) and one county (Baoying). It also temporarily governs Gaoyou and Yizheng.
Yangzhou has a long history and is known for several notable residents. Because of its unique geography and beautiful natural environment, Yangzhou has enjoyed long-term prosperity and cultural continuity from the Han to the Qing Dynasty. Yangzhou had three prosperous periods: during the middle years of the Western Han Dynasty, from the Sui and Tang dynasties to the Zhao and Song dynasties, and from the Ming to the Qing Dynasty. As China’s prosperity grew, so did Yangzhou’s. Yangzhou’s wealth and capital were highly admired during the Sui and Tang as well as the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was the largest financial center in China and even in East Asia. The prosperity of Yangzhou equaled that of London and Hong Kong.
Yangzhou Teacher Training Project
The Yangzhou Education Bureau has attached great importance to the Teacher Training Project program. It has actively recruited foreign teachers to give Yangzhou teachers the opportunity to learn more about foreign culture and advanced classroom methods.
Professional development participation levels over the years are estimated as follows:
As a result of participating in the training, teachers broadened their horizons, improved their oral communication skills, enhanced their instructional delivery skills, and improved their overall subject matter proficiency. This professional development received positive reviews from the teachers. As part of the workshops, foreign and experienced local teachers discussed teaching matters and learned from one another, establishing constructive communication in the process. Participant feedback states that teachers enhanced their understanding of the teaching profession, added to their content knowledge, and improved their skills in instructional design and classroom delivery.
Zhenjiang, also known as “Runzhou,” is located in southwestern Jiangsu Province on the east coast of China. It was the capital of Jiangsu during the Republic of China era and holds the titles of “The Intersection of Rivers” and “The First Landscape in the World” because it is the place where the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal intersect.
Zhenjiang has three districts (Jingkou, Runzhou, and Dantu) administering three cities (Jurong, Danyang, and Yangzhong). It covers 3,848 square kilometers with a population of 3,170,000 (2014).
Zhenjiang is famous for fish and rice, many tourist attractions such as Jinshan Temple and Xijindu, and institutions of higher learning such as the Jiangsu University and Jiangsu University of Science and Technology.
Zhenjiang Teacher Training Project
Since 2005, the Zhenjiang Education Bureau has encouraged teachers from local elementary and middle schools to attend the provincial professional development programs. In the past ten years, over 2,000 teachers have been trained. With strong support from the Education Bureau leadership, all training sites were organized carefully, and the skillful and professional guidance from the foreign teachers helped the Teacher Training Project program achieve its goals every time. Program participants reported that the training opened them up to new ideas and concepts, extended their professional knowledge, changed their understanding of education, and raised their English listening, reading, speaking, and writing skill levels. Local teachers were impressed by their foreign colleagues’ attitudes of conscientiousness, democracy, equality, respect, and trust.
Taizhou, often shortened to “Tai,” an important part of the Jiangsu Yangtze River economic zone, is located north of the Yangtze River and northwest of the Yangtze River Delta.
Taizhou is famous for its 2,100 years of history and several thousand years of culture. Because the weather in Taizhou, especially the windy and rainy season, is very predictable, life here is stable and peaceful. Therefore, Taizhou has been called a lucky and fortunate place. The city has many notable residents such as the writer Shi Nai’an, the painter Zheng Banqiao, and the Peking opera artist Mei Lanfang.
Taizhou has a four distinct seasons; it is hot and rainy in the summer and warm and dry in the winter. Temperatures are highest in July and lowest in January.
Taizhou has three districts and three cities, Hailing, Gaogang, Jiangyan, Jinjiang, Taixing and Xinghua. In 2014, the number of residents totaled 5,085,100.
Taizhou Teacher Training Project
The Teacher Training Project program wants to make innovative teacher professional development the new standard for training and promote teaching reform at the elementary and middle school levels. It uses qualified foreign teachers as resources to improve the skills of elementary and middle school English teachers through learning about best practices in teaching, to understand instructional design and English teaching methods, to help teachers practice accurate pronunciation, to encourage teachers to use English as the language of instruction, and to improve teachers’ listening and speaking skills.
Taizhou has participated in the program successfully since 2005 for 11 years altogether. Experts from the United States, Canada, and Australia were invited to train English core subject teachers and to improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. When communicating with colleagues from English-speaking countries, local teachers learned about the cultures of English-speaking countries and the teaching methods used there. Such interactions promote quality improvement of the English language instruction in local schools. Over the years, elementary and kindergarten music teachers in Xinghua and Taixing have also been trained with good results.
Suqian, located in northern Jiangsu Province, belongs to the temperate monsoon climate zone. It has four distinct seasons and warm temperatures.
Suqian was founded in 1996 as the youngest county-level city in Jiangsu and is one of the top 100 county-level cities in China. It has three counties (Shuyang, Siyang, and Sihong) and seven districts (among them Suyu, Sucheng, New Hubin, New Yanghe, and Suqian Economic and Technical Zone). In 2016, the population was 5,916,000.
In its long history, Suqian was the hometown of the King of Western Chu and developed a prosperous culture as a result. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal runs through it. Lake Luoma and Lake Hongze, which both abound with fish, crab, and other seafood, make Suqian a well-known “seafood home.” It is also the wine capital of China. Two famous wines, Yanghe and Shuanggou, are produced there.
Suqian Teacher Training Project
With the support of the Provincial Education Bureau and Jiangsu International Educational Exchange, the Suqian Education Bureau followed the directive of the Provincial Education Bureau to provide innovative professional development and took part in the establishment of the Teacher Training Project. Since 2004, Suqian has welcomed 97 foreign teachers, organized 97 professional development workshops, and selected about 3,000 teachers from elementary and middle schools to attend the Teacher Training Project, all of which has resulted in significant benefits. While receiving training on the educational and cultural differences between East and West, participating teachers have with the help of foreign teachers made significant progress in their speaking, pronunciation, and listening skills. Teachers have broadened their international horizons and enhanced their professional qualifications. The teacher training project offers participating teachers a platform to expand their critical-thinking skills and study current pedagogical concepts. Learning about education abroad is beneficial for Chinese teachers and offers them the opportunity to reflect and improve upon their own practice.