CARLSBAD — In January, Pacific Ridge School hosted Christoph Ehland, the Department Head of English and American Studies at the University of Paderborn in Germany, as well as 26 students from Shanghai Shidong High School in China.
Ehland regularly visits schools throughout the U.S. to exchange ideas and new teaching methods. He spent over two weeks observing classroom discussions.
Instead of sitting in rows of chairs and desks, students at Pacific Ridge School sit around oval classroom tables called Harkness tables. The theory behind the tables is that in face-to-face communication with teachers and peers, students learn to listen and speak respectfully, to question assumptions, and to articulate their views. Ehland’s goal following his trip is to establish internships for University of Paderborn student teachers at Pacific Ridge School.
Following Ehland’s visit, 26 students from Pacific Ridge School’s sister school, Shanghai Shidong High School, visited the Carlsbad school to observe classroom teaching, engage in dialogue, and visit San Diego landmarks. The students and chaperones participated in home stays with Pacific Ridge School families during their travels. Pacific Ridge School’s 10th-grade students visited Shanghai in June of 2010 as part of the school’s annual global engagement travel program and the January visit from the Chinese students allowed the students to further educate one another on their respective cultures. The visit kicked off Jan. 23, with a Chinese New Year celebration that included classical and lion dances, as well as a zither performance. Attendees wore red or Chinese-style clothing.
This summer, the cultural immersion continues as Pacific Ridge students embark on school-wide global enrichment trips to destinations domestic and abroad.