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News and Events: April-June 2013

The American Culture Center Tour in Guangzhou, June 26-28, 2013

Henry Clark and Nellie Sciutto are highly talented performers who have acted in acclaimed movies, including Shutter Island and The Departed. They also use acting to promote and educate the world about American theater, and their tour, entitled An Ongoing Experiment, brought them to Guangzhou, where they performed three shows sponsored by the US-China Center. Henry Clark described the show and its aims in this way:

The theater is not a uniquely American art form, but the American Theater is unique. An Ongoing Experiment presents five exceptional scenes, and offers a brief introduction to some of the major voices and artistic movements that have shaped the American stage. Generations of playwrights and theater artists have dug into the fundamental themes of the American experience – our struggles for civil rights, the pressures of capitalism, and the phenomenal complexity of the American dream – and have left us an artistic and historical record of the nation. At its best, the theater is a voice for progress and a herald of possibility. In the 20th Century, and now in the 21st, the diversity of voices on the American stage has helped to shape and guide our national debate. The history of the American theater is, in many ways, the history of America itself .
The performances themselves were resoundingly popular, as roughly 3,000 people attended the three performances in total, a crowd that included students, administrators, and faculty from South China Normal University and other colleges and universities in the Guangzhou area, as well as a strong contingent from the general public. We thank Henry Clark and Nellie Sciutto for a wonderful performance, and we hope that this will not be the last time that they come to the US-China Center to perform.

PRT Workshop for Local K-12 English Teachers, June 25-27, 2013

The US-China Center was lucky enough to have EducationUSA English Language Fellows Jill Kester and Jim Radebaugh come to Guangzhou and assist with a workshop for local English teachers. Their main focus was a teaching system called PRT, which places a strong focus on student learning and outcomes rather than teaching methods. PRT, which stands for Pronunciation, Reading, and Task-based learning, was developed for language teachers by noted educational theorist Spencer Kagan. Teachers from all over Guangdong and neighboring provinces were in attendance, and the speakers combined presentations with substantive discussion, enabling many teachers to share best practices and teaching methods that have been especially effective for them. We thank Jill Kester and Jim Radebaugh for flying all the way to Guangzhou from the Washington, D.C. area, and we thank all the attendees for their enthusiasm and willingness to discuss and share their experiences.

Workshop for Chinese High School Counselors, June 14-16, 2013

High school guidance counselors have only recently come into fashion in China, and the field itself is small but rapidly expanding. One the main tasks for these counselors is to understand the American college application process and advise students accordingly, which is where the US-China Center stepped in. The workshop, co-sponsored by South China Normal University and EducationUSA China, a branch of the US Embassy, is the first of its kind in South China. The keynote speaker for the event was Ms. Dickie Hargrave, the Assistant Director of International Recruitment from the University of North Texas, with additional speeches from VU graduate students Megan Ames and Brad Hilbrich as well as Jenny Yu and Will Yang from EducationUSA.

We at the US-China Center are extremely excited about the future of this event. The growing demand for school counseling services will hopefully create high demand for the workshop in years to come. We thank all educators who attended the event, some of whom came from all over Guangdong province and neighboring Fujian province, as well as those who were gracious enough to organize and speak at the event. We hope that this is the first of many highly informative workshops to come.

US-China Center Hosts Vanderbilt Practicum Students, April-June 2013

From April 29th through the end of June, 2013, the US-China Center was lucky enough to have three graduate students from the Peabody College of Education come to Guangzhou for a summer practicum. The students--Megan Ames, an International Education Policy and Management major, and Brad Hilbrich and Matthew Wright, both Higher Education Administration majors--were an integral part in the day-to-day operations of the US-China Center while in Guangzhou. While assisting the Center with all of its summer programming, the three students were also able to visit local schools and talk with their respective English departments, make speeches at area high schools and conferences, and assist the US Consulate Guangzhou with a number of education-specific events. Two days a week, the three students were also able to work at Sun Yat-Sen University's Office of International Cultural Exchange.

Eighth Annual Educational Leadership Learning Exchange, March-April 2013

The Educational Leadership Learning Exchange (ELLE) is a joint program, originally created through Vanderbilt and South China Normal University. 2013 marked the first year (hopefully of many to come) in which ELLE has fallen under the purview of the US-China Center. The main focus of the program is international educational exchange and discussion between principals from Metropolitan Public Schools of Nasvhille (MPSN) and their counterparts in Guangzhou. From March 16-29, sixteen MPSN principals were able to travel to Guangzhou, and through their two weeks there, they were able to come away with a much deeper understanding of China, its culture, and the Chinese education system. For more information on their 2013 ELLE exchange, please visit

Additionally, for more information on the ELLE program in general, including current news and plans for ELLE 2014, please visit their website.

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