Greetings! My name is Mei Lan Frame, and my interest in international education centers on current education reform in China, particularly the decline of education in remote rural areas within the last decade. China has been my home for the past 13 years.

 

In 2004, I worked as the Community Service coordinator (International Baccalaureate program) at a K-12 international school in Beijing, where I managed various student outreach programs and fundraising for Chinese public rural schools in Yunnan and Sichuan province. This was my first experience with education in the countryside in China. Yet I was also struck by the fact my school was located in the middle of migrant shanty towns on the edge of the city, but showed little recognition of the poverty surrounding it in our own community. I began student outreach programs (weekend sports and English) with two migrant schools, Tao Yuan and Hong Qi, in the area. In addition, the Chinese students visited our school and tutored students in Chinese language! To me, this was a wonderful example of the strength of “community service”.

 

In 2007, I went to Andra Pradesh, India, to study the role of culture and community in a multi-grade K-4 rural education program at the Rishi Valley Institute of Educational Resources (RIVER). RIVER’s place-based curriculum using community knowledge and resources, such as village mothers’ tales, traditional folktales/art, and village land remains deeply inspiring to me as evidence of a quality primary education program rooted in the reality and situation of rural life that simultaneously engages and sustains marginalized communities. I returned to Beijing in 2009 to work with the NGO Small Steps on the Open Classroom project in Gang Fang village, Hebei province, to improve education quality at a K-2 village school through peer-learning and community outreach. During this time I also served as an education consultant for migrant schools, and volunteered in my community as a yoga instructor for the Chinese NGO Hui Ling, which provides services for physically and mentally challenged adults.

 

In China, the national revision of curriculum and pedagogy to embrace western methodology and promote creativity has further disadvantaged rural areas. My recent work as training director for a teacher training program (Chao Yang district Ministry of Education) in Beijing to train Chinese public school teachers (grades 1-10) in communicative language methodology illustrated the glaring difference between the traditional approach to education through hard study and rote memorization and the MOE’s insistence of a modern pedagogy emphasizing attributes such as inquiry-based and student-centered learning. As access to higher education in China becomes increasingly competitive and weighted in favor of urban culture and access to modern methodologies, the dichotomy of practice and resources between urban and rural education becomes even more pronounced, to the great disadvantage of rural populations.

 

I am also a certified TESOL trainer for the School of International Education (SIT) in Brattleboro, VT, and my work has enabled me to train teachers from many other countries. I deeply look forward to my future work at CIE, and I am thrilled not only at the opportunity to pursue doctoral studies in the field of international education, a culmination of my interest in and experience with the practice of education in different contexts and countries, but also the opportunity to join the CIE team and work in a community of diverse, passionate researchers and practitioners committed to worldwide education and helping all learners succeed.

 

 

Degree: 
Ed.D.
Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
Status: 
On-Campus Student