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Californian Teachers Help Teachers in Taiwan Facilitate Remote Teaching

Part of the presentation by Walnut Elementary School teachers Sylvia Chen, Isabelle Lin, and Henry Lin

In response to a sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in mid-May 2021, Taiwan announced nationwide Level 3 restrictions. The rapid move to stay at home measures meant that teachers had to quickly put together lesson plans suitable for online teaching. Teachers in California had to do this during the lockdown there that began in March last year, so the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles, the Education Division of TECO in San Francisco, and the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan) worked with Walnut Elementary School to present an online workshop on June 25, on Administrative Leadership, Curriculum Design, Classroom Management and Beyond in the Virtual Classroom to help the teachers and school administrators in Taiwan.

Walnut Elementary School is a public school with a K–5 Chinese immersion program located in the eastern portion of Los Angeles County. Robert Chang, the principal, and teachers Sylvia Chen, Isabelle Lin, and Henry Lin addressed the workshop and shared highly practical details, based on their experiences. Robert Chang recommended that school administrators give teachers ample time for preparation, as many teachers build online lesson plan from scratch. The teachers talked about the importance of Social and Emotional Learning, and the critical role that positive relationships and emotional connections between teachers and students play in the learning process. They shared pedagogical methods, best practices and useful education technologies, such as GoGuardian and Seesaw that help smooth the transition to remote teaching. 

Other topics covered by the workshop included:  curriculum design and strategies,  virtual classroom management,  formal and informal assessment,  learning support strategies for disadvantaged students, and  effective ways to communicate with parents. 

Dr. Nicole Yen-Yi Lee, Director General of the Ministry of Education’s Department of International and Cross-strait Education, Dr. Randall Nadeau, Executive Director of Fulbright Taiwan, and Dr. Tony Torng, Vice President of the Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees also took part and spoke about their vision of enhancing education related engagements and collaboration between Taiwan and the United States in the future. Dr. Torng’s prompt support made it possible for this workshop to be arranged in time to respond to the needs of administrators and teachers in Taiwan.

The workshop attracted over 120 principals and teachers in Taiwan. It provided the participants with a better understanding of a range of practical teaching strategies to support students and help them continue to learn during this time of uncertainty, and it received a great amount of positive feedback. A video recording uploaded to YouTube has already had more than 500 views: