Kristen Fenwick

Combining education instruction with international travel, a group of students with Miami University Middletown’s Center for Chemistry Education (CCE) will embark this summer on a “Terrific Science” tour of China.

The tour, running from June 23 to July 7, will include visits to several different cities and allow Miami students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to interact with Chinese teachers and students of science at local schools.

“(The tour) can be for anybody, but our target audience is education majors – specifically science education majors,” said Kate Miller, assistant manager of instructional programs for CCE. “Not only will they be going around seeing different sights in China, they’ll also be spending time at different teacher education workshops.”

Students may choose to enroll for optional course credit by May 30. Available for both graduate and undergraduate students, the course is titled Teaching Chemistry: the U.S.-China Interface and students will receive credit for CHM 499.B or 599.B.

A two and a half day science education workshop will be presented at Liaoning Normal University in Dalian by Mickey Sarquis, director of CCE, and Lynn Hogue, professor of chemistry and associate director of CCE.

The CCE began with programs in the mid-1980s and was created to bring chemistry and other companion sciences closer to students and teachers through hands-on learning. The center, which has nationwide connections, is based on Miami’s Middletown campus.

According to Hogue, one of the goals of the trip is for the Miami travelers to experience what it might be like to be a teacher in China and to learn different approaches and attitudes toward the teaching of science and children.

“Overall, it will be both an educational and cultural experience for the people who go,” Hogue said. “We thought this would be a valuable experience for (Miami) teachers and students as well as the Chinese (teachers and students) … we can learn from each other.”

In particular, Miller said that a focus will be placed on the differences between the Chinese and American education systems.

“They’ll be speaking with Chinese teachers and learning about some of the methods that they use and how things are the same and how things are different between the two systems,” Miller said.

Emphasizing the importance of exposure to different cultures, Hogue believes that the cultural aspect of the trip is one of the more important ones.

“China is a very different culture from even European cultures,” Hogue said, who has been to China several times. “It’s very old and steeped in tradition; our country is relatively new and a lot of the sights we will go to see are incredibly ancient by our standards.”

Among their travels, the students and faculty will be able to visit such places as the Forbidden City of Beijing, the Great Wall of China, the Ancient City Wall of Xian and the Yu Gardens of Shanghai.

Hogue added that the large size of the United States may keep many Americans from outside travel.

“Many citizens don’t experience other peoples and cultures and it gives them a very parochial view of the world,” Hogue said. “This trip will give them a valuable outlook on the world because everything’s becoming more global … if you’ve never left (America) it’s kind of hard to understand.”

Hogue pointed out that the Olympics will be held in China in 2008, and preparation will occur during the summer 2007 Miami trip.

“We’ll be able to see some of these sights (that will be on TV),” Hogue said. “You can watch and say, ‘I was there.'”

The deadline to sign up for the tour without course credit is June 8.