Academic Accreditation: Chinese Style

This coming week our university is due for a visit from the Ministry of Education. A few weeks back at a meeting we were told we would have to submit several documents for the accreditation, but we’d be told what they were. Rumor had it that we’d have to submit every handout, quiz and test we’d given. We’d have to collect and give every single student’s work, as well as daily lesson plans. When I checked with the foreign affairs office they said we wouldn’t have to submit anything. Well, that works for me, though I began to keep one clean copy of every new handout.

Later a veteran Australian English teacher informed me that all that mattered in accreditation visits was:

  1. The quality of the hotel where the assessors stayed and
  2. The quality of the prostitutes hired for them.

Say it ain’t so!

We have been told that our classes may be observed, which I’m ready for. Tomorrow two classes will have literature circles. On Tues. and Weds. students will present their group videos. So there’s a lot of interactivity and student work to be seen. Students will also do some sustained listening and extensive reading. Since next Monday’s a holiday and it would be foolish to have an exam on the Friday before a holiday, one class will have a final on Thursday, the last possible day for observations. Well, that is part of education, like it or not so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

For months the administration has arranged for the buildings to be spiffed up. New posters are in the classrooms, the walls were painted and we got new desks in September. It’s been quite nice to work in a brighter, cleaner environment.

I’m pretty confident of my courses and relieved I didn’t have to collect every handout I’ve ever given students so I’m ready for the observations.

Yet, on Friday a Chinese professor told me that perhaps no one will visit our campus. They may must review the Qingdao campus, which has about 40,000 students to our 1,500. That makes some sense. It’s easy to forget that our school is very small in the scheme of things. So easy to feel that the issues we face are major issues. We just guppies in a small pond connected to a larger sea.

Still I’ll be prepared for tomorrow.

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