mabroda May 20th, 2009
Our first day in Chengdu was very full and extremely beneficial. As a self-proposed “slow city” we still seemed to move at break neck speed to take in all of the opportunities. Our first order of business for the day was to participate in an environmental education curriculum open house at the Panda Research Base. We were among other western researchers, local principals, teachers, provincial educational officials, and national forestry officials. The open house was to unveil their new curriculum for local teachers that would help them to use the Panda Base as a springboard for further inclusion of environmental messages and behaviors in the teaching. At one point, we were asked about our suggestions for meshing the traditional curriculum with the environmental. Matthew discussed the idea of aligning the Panda Base curriculum with the required national curriculum. This idea was not embraced. Later he asked why there was no support for alignment and was informed by the Panda Base education staff that the kind of alignment would allow for “personal interpretation” which is not desired by the provincial and national education bureaus. Unfortunatly, his underlying belief will always make the inclusion of environmental studies as an “extra” in the curriculum as opposed to the interdisciplinary study it should be. While touring the base, we had many interactions with the local wildlife including the endangered Golden Pheasant, and the 83 pandas housed at the facility.
For dinner, we took part in a Sichuan tradition – the hotpot meal (see photo below).
This meal was in addition to the rooster testicles that David and I ate for lunch (Susan had one one her plate and then got the word just in time to stop).
After dinner, we took a stroll around Chengdu to see all of the Chinese take part in the nightly exercise regiments. On every corner, there were people dancing, doing tai-chi, and using outdoor exercise machine. We felt a bit sheepish as we waddled through having just consumed a large amount of very spicy food.
Sights of Chengdu