A one-day teacher training program sponsored by the Erasmus+ RICH-Ed project (Resources for Interculturality in Chinese Higher Education) was held at Harbin Institute of Technology on May 17, 2019, which was attended by 44 teachers from 13 universities in Harbin and other cities of Heilongjiang Province. The project core team from HIT School of International Studies organized this local training event where the initial learning resources of RICH-Ed were piloted following the three-year agenda of the project
The training started at 9:00am in RM 3013 of the Mechanical Engineering Building on HIT main campus. Professor LIU Kedong, dean of the School of International Studies, chaired the training and introduced the goals and objectives of the RICH-Ed Project to the trainees. Professor ZHANG Jin, the academic dean of the school, and Professor SONG Li, director of the Center for Intercultural Communication and Research, revealed the pedagogical framework and structure of the current RICH-Ed training materials. The teacher trainees were then invited to explore the interplay of language, identity and power relations in intercultural encounters through two learning activities based on the controversies over an American high school girl wearing Chinese style qipao for her prom. They were also provided with guiding questions for group discussions and reflections on how identities and relationships are socially constructed in discursive practice. Evaluation of the training was conducted through the project online feedback survey and also through handouts of a self-assessment grid. Upon reflection of the training, the teacher trainees expressed great satisfaction with the activities. They particularly liked the engaging learning materials characterized by inspiring as well as thought-provoking questions. They would like to have more training opportunities of this type and look forward to sharing more of the RICH-Ed resources. Most of them also expressed a strong desire for continued involvement in the RICH-Ed project.
The training ended at 4:30 pm when its objectives and outcomes were believed to have been achieved, and each participant was granted the official certificate for completing the training program. The enthusiasm of the teacher trainees was encouraging to the hosts of the program, who believed in the significance and practical value of the RICH-Ed project for intercultural teaching and learning at Chinese universities.
The HIT teacher training event is one of the four piloting programs offered by the Chinese partner universities from May to August, 2019. Aiming at supporting Chinese universities in creating a learning environment that empowers students and staff for global engagement, the RICH-Ed project has set out to define a pedagogical approach for intercultural learning, and to develop learning resources for students and support staff that will be tested at the five Chinese partner universities and elsewhere in the Yangtze River Delta and North-east China.