The First Chinese Innovation Forum was definitely not an ordinary professional development event being hosted at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS),and co-hosted by Chinese American International School (CAIS). Planning committee members walked into the McCone building on the morning of the event finding out that electricity was out for the entire city of Monterey. What better way to start out a forum with the word “innovation” in its title, than to think of a back up plan on the spot and set up a makeshift seating area for the morning keynote presentations without delaying the start of the event! Luckily, all individuals including Dean Renee Jourdenais, Head of School of CAIS, Dr. Jeff Bissell, the planning members, those from the catering company and even event speakers were supportive of each other and flexible enough to work together to provide a seamless start to what ended up becoming a very exciting forum.
The mission of The First Chinese Innovation Forum was to jumpstart and create a sustainable conversation of innovation for the field of Chinese language education, although language teachers from all various language backgrounds were invited to join and take part in the event. Dr. Kathleen Bailey and Dr. Peter Shaw, both widely respected professors at MIIS and world leading experts in their fields of language education, provided insightful keynote presentations. These talks were followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. John Hedgcock, and included input from active forum participants.
Major highlights of The First Chinese Innovation Forum came from the afternoon “innovation-swap” tables. Chinese language educators from all over the country who were previously put together into groups set up trade-fair style tables to showcase innovative language teaching methods, including creative assessment methods, project ideas, useful apps, and clever ways to go about grammar instruction. Participants spent two hours interacting with each other as they took turns to visit various showcase tables and shared their appreciation during a final reflection period. By this point in time, electricity had come back to the venue.
The First Chinese Innovation Forum brought together passionate language educators who were excited to share and learn from their peers about the innovative ideas they were actually DOING in their classrooms. We look forward to turning this forum into an annual event! (Hopefully, with no more blackouts involved. J)
“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is DOING new things” – Theodore Levitt