Running a GAC Center
Three years ago I returned to China after several years studying and working in the United States, and since then I have been running Kunming Foreign Language School GAC Center. With this experience of operating the GAC, including but not limited to marketing, teaching, managing, and new teachers' training, I believe that the GAC program is indeed an excellent and essential preparation for Chinese high school graduates prior to their western higher education.
…My academic career in [the] U.S. as an undergraduate student … and later as a graduate majoring in Curriculum and Instruction of Mathematics gave me the experience necessary to appreciate foreign students’ perspective and labors. My being a certified Math teacher in U.S high schools further revealed to me more strikingly scary statistics, that 30% of college and university students drop out after their first year and half of them never graduate, especially for minorities. With this background I can say with confidence that GAC’s intensive 9-month curriculum, stressing self-motivated and independent study, along with test preparation for ACT and IELTS® / TOEFL®, equips Chinese students with the knowledge, skills and mentality necessary to succeed as university students in America.
International preparatory programs such as GAC face both advantages and disadvantages in inland China. Relatively undeveloped regions such as Yunnan province present emerging markets for educational entrepreneurs. There are few well-managed preparatory programs for aspiring international students. … Conversely, inland China presents many disadvantages …. Most students and parents are unfamiliar with such preparatory programs and so they only focus on the bare requirements of an international education: passing the required tests and getting the visa … unaware of essential substance of preparatory programs and the necessity of inculcating students with the proper mentality that will allow them to cope in American university and culture.
The successful operation of GAC international preparatory program requires familiarity with the mindset of students and parents as well as experience and expertise in international educational requirements. The first priority must be establishing and maintaining high educational standards rather than focusing merely on profit. It is necessary to invest the sufficient time and effort to build a reliable, trustworthy and successful school. Running a successful specialized project management team entails knowing how to combine the knowledge of western teaching methodology and management style with a strong "local flavor," including a proper marketing strategy that takes into consideration the importance of word of mouth in a medium-sized city.
Overall, the successful management of GAC requires maintaining standards of responsibility and respect for teachers and administration in a business culture combining Western and Chinese methods and personnel, as well as taking into account the perspectives and sensibilities of students and parents.
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