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YK Pao School and Princeton in Asia: Partners in Quality Education

October, 2015
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ykps-princetonYK Pao School recently welcomed two new teaching fellows and one returning fellow from the ‘Princeton in Asia’ (PiA) program to their Secondary Division for the new academic year. These US graduates will be conducting their fellowships at Pao School in Humanities as well as in teaching and student support areas.

YK Pao School’s partnership with PiA began in 2012 and as of now has eight past and current teaching fellows. The program was founded when the first Princeton Fellows travelled to China in 1898, and was designed to promote exchange between the US and Asia. Now with over 115 years of history and no longer restricted to Princeton University students, the program arranges fellowships and internships with host organizations in Asia in various fields, including education, health, international development, environmental advocacy, journalism, engineering, technology, law and business.

Alex Jones, Director of Asia Operations at PiA, explained this collaboration: “YK Pao School is the only Primary and Secondary School that we partner with in China. The partnership developed because the founders have strong connections to Princeton, and PiA is always looking for excellent schools to send our teachers to and we love what YK Pao School is doing in terms of bilingual education, which is unique, exciting work. It’s a very supportive environment for our fellows and it has been a very healthy partnership so far.”

To become a Princeton fellow at Pao School, in addition to the academic and administrative requirements, applicants must be driven individuals who are dedicated to helping students develop academically as well as working with them both in and out of the classroom. They should also be committed to Pao School’s whole person education mission, fulfilling three important roles: teacher, coach and dorm parent. Peter Mihalcik, Humanities teaching fellow at Pao School, reflected on his first week of orientations at PiA and how they prepared him for his current tenure at the school: “During the day, we received vigorous TEFL training and lectures on Asian culture. I gained an immense respect for Chinese culture and felt prepared to take on my teaching responsibilities, and I realized the importance of being a member of a community and cultivating lifelong friendships with people from all over the world. The training I received makes me a better teacher every day. Pao School’s students are constantly teaching me about Chinese culture, and all the while I’ve made incredible bonds with staff and students alike.”

Pao School Secondary Division Executive Principal Paul Wood also pointed out the many advantages of implementing such a program at the school: “The enthusiasm of these dynamic individuals is infectious and they are a positive influence on our students and our staff! Their language skills can also act as a bridge between our international and Chinese faculty members.”


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