Principals and teachers from China have visited Riverside Secondary School in two separate delegations, from late October to early November. The first delegation was to observe the physics program as well as the 1 to 1 program of Riverside, while the second delegation was to observe the different school programs in general and how the Chinese students are doing during their time in Canada.
“Some of the teachers asked about school fees and life expenses,” said Tian Mao, a grade 10 student who guided the delegations around Riverside. “They also asked about how students can graduate and apply for universities, as well as asking about our unique programs that are not offered in China, such as Spanish and French,” said Timothy Tang, a grade 12 student who also guided the delegations around Riverside.
According to grade 12 student, Erin Wu, the teachers also asked about the differences between the Canadian education system and the Chinese education system. “It [China] is a very competitive culture,” said Principal Anthony Ciolfitto, who had taught in Chinese schools in the past. “The students are worried that they are not able to get into good universities. Studying in Canada gives the students new opportunities that they never had before.” According to Ciolfitto, the Canadian school system has a balance of the heart and mind of the students, while the Chinese school system is more focused on direct instructions and is more teacher-centered in its instructions. Ciolfitto also states that China is currently attempting to reform their education system using the information gathered from the delegations. “They put a very big focus on professional development. Teachers would often watch each other teach and give feedback,” said Ciolfitto.
The teachers and principals of both delegations come from the city of Jiaxing, but are all from different schools. According to Grace Gu, an English teacher from China, the teachers are from different grades ranging from kindergarten to grade 12.