Jioanna Carjuzaa, associate professor of education, will speak at the Northwest China Council on Wednesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. in the Kida Building, 127 NW 3rd Ave. in Portland. The event is free and open to the public.
Carjuzaa spent two weeks in China last November as one of 20 U.S. educators appointed to a multicultural education delegation for the People to People Ambassador Program. Each delegate focused on a specific area of expertise. Carjuzaa was chosen for her work in the field of English for academic purposes.
During the two-week stint, Carjuzaa and the other delegates visited colleges, K-12 classrooms and research institutes in Beijing, Chongqing and Kunming. They evaluated curriculum, visited classrooms, gave feedback to teachers and recommended ways to improve education, both in China and the United States.
Carjuzaa noted a number of differences between American and Chinese educational systems, with class size being one of the most striking. She said it?s common for Chinese classes to have 50 or more students led by one classroom teacher. She observed some classes with as many as 90. Even so, every student is on task and working hard.
"We?re always striving for smaller class sizes and yet the Chinese succeed with massive class sizes," she said. "There are no discipline problems. It?s a totally different mindset, one of conformation and memorization. That was fascinating to see."
Carjuzaa said families and communities play a large role in the success of Chinese students.
"Their society supports the education of children," she said. "It?s a top priority. Students lose face if they don?t work hard. They are expected to give their most at every moment and there?s no acceptance of failure. They get incredible pressure and support from society to succeed."
Carjuzaa used her culinary skills to raise nearly half of the $6,000 for the trip by making and selling chocolate raspberry cakes and baklava.
"Our record was making more than 500 pieces of baklava in one week," she said with a laugh. "I got incredible support from the campus and community."
Carjuzaa holds a Ph.D. in multicultural, social and bilingual foundations of education from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She has over 20 years? teaching experience as a multicultural teacher educator, diversity trainer and English for academic purposes instructor. She taught at The University of Colorado, School of Education and The Economics Institute at Boulder, The University of Pennsylvania and at Rocky Mountain College before joining Linfield College.
"Even though I?ve lived and worked in many different cultures, not a day goes by that I don?t think about this adventure," she said. "The opportunity to be involved with such a diverse group of delegates was an enriching experience. Getting to share my expertise and learning from them was invaluable."
Carjuzaa is sharing her experience with the community. For information on her speaking schedule, contact her at 503-883-2238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.