Taiwanese Students Learn How To "Argue" At NIU Camp

Jul 2, 2014

There are a lot of summer camps to choose from, with everything from sports to arts and crafts.

Two dozen young students from Taiwan are learning with their American peers how to get their point across. This week, the students are taking part in activities designed around the study and debate of alternative energy.

The students from the National University of Tainan's Affiliated Elementary School will stay in DeKalb through mid-July.

The summer education camp sprung from a relationship NIU's Dr. Pi-Sui Hsu had with the Taiwanese school.

Hsu says organizers wanted to choose a topic that would generate discussion and debate.

"Alternative energy is an important topic for middle school students to understand. For this type of argumentation activity, we don't want them to have a wrong or right answer."

They are put into groups along with American students to prepare presentations with their arguments.

Pei-Ching Huang is a Taiwanese teacher. She says her students benefit from working alongside the American students, especially when it comes to public speaking.

"Most of the kids in our school, they usually listen. They are shy to talk. But here, just after one day with the American kids, they [are making] friends and are willing to talk."

Taiwanese student Eric Shan Kuan says the American classroom looks similar to what he's used to, but there's a big difference.

"We can get information on the internet as long as we can use the computers. In Taiwan, we can't do that. We have to go home and search on the internet."

Nana Wan noticed another difference.

"The classroom chairs and tables are more comfortable in Taiwan."

This is the first in a series of programs bringing Taiwanese students to the area. A dozen other students will spend two weeks at DeKalb High School this fall.