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Mr. Gray shares his experience visiting China

Mr. Gray speaks to 7th grade LA students.

Imagine entering a school campus by walking a red carpet rolled out just for you, with the theme song to the movie Rocky playing over the loudspeaker. This was how Mr. Brian Gray, assistant principal at Weddington Middle School, and his peers, were greeted as they entered the High School Affiliated to Nanjing Normal University - Jiangning Campus in Nanjing, China.

As part of a cultural exchange program organized through Marvin High School, Mr. Gray was one of several UCPS teachers who travelled to China to during the summer of 2015 to teach English at a local school. Mr. Gray visited Marvin Ridge Middle on Tuesday, September 15, to talk with sixth graders about his experience. His stories helped the students, who will begin reading a novel about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, gain some insight and background understanding about Chinese life and culture before beginning their book study.

Mr. Gray discussed how life in China is both similar and different from life in the United States. For instance, they do have fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken in China but the food they serve may be quite a bit different from what we are used to seeing in these restaurants. In China, there are big cities as well as smaller rural communities like in the U.S. but the cities are very populous. Chinese students attend schools organized much like our schools, but instead of students moving from classroom to classroom during the day, the teachers change classrooms. Cole Christianson was impressed by how long the school day is for students in China. “When Mr. Gray said that kids went to school from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm I wondered if they ever had time to go out and just play.”

Students enjoyed seeing photos shared by Mr. Gray and asking him specific questions about his trip. Mr. Gray stated that “The partnership that UCPS has with this school in China provided a wonderful opportunity to not only teach English to Chinese students, but also gave us a once in a lifetime cultural experience. One that will I’ll personally never forget and one that I am honored to share with others.”

These students have begun to read Red Scarf Girl by Ji Li Jiang and “Mr. Gray’s introduction made it easier for students to understand some of the complexities of Chinese life, culture and political system,” said Lynnet Elliott, the 6th grade AIG teacher who invited Mr. Gray to share his experiences.

Written by: Brita Mann - Media Specialist
Posted: Sep 22, 2015 by Brita Mann

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