University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has two unique and outstanding intensive language programs to address the needs of all of our English-language learners. In July and August, six English faculty and two Chinese language lecturers’ from Hainan Medical University in Haikou, Hainan, China spent three weeks at University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), attending a faculty development program as part of the International Professional Development Program (IPD) program. The IPD program is designed for those with work experience and/or a university degree. A total immersion approach is used; the students divide their time between classroom time, teacher trainings, and cultural trips. While they were here they sharpened their public speaking and writing fundamentals, learned best practices in teaching, and practiced interactive teaching techniques and classroom management, among other academic skill building lessons.
In Hainan, these teachers instruct medical students in English language. It’s a fast paced, intensive profession. Their class sizes vary from between forty and sixty students per class. Omaha brings peace and quiet, and lots of time to do research on their personal projects in UNO’s Criss Library. Of course, they were able to take a trip to the Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall to bring back gifts for their children and friends.
The teachers enjoyed their time at the UNO Biology tallgrass prairie site, Glacier Creek. There were a few plants at Glacier Creek that the teachers recognized from China, including one with leaves that curled up when you touch them. The ability of the public to enjoy nature preserves, especially if there is little-to-no cost to visit, is something that truly surprised the teachers.