fulbright Taiwan online journal

fulbright Taiwan online journal

Tag: English

A Very Full & Bright Fulbright Journey

Overview:  With only five vibrant weeks to go before the conclusion of the spring 2018 semester in the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures, College of Indigenous Studies, at National Dong Hwa University (NDHU), I find it a bit hard to sum up this extraordinary and rich semester. Part of it is due to my reluctance to put myself in a farewell mode. The experience could be described as living my dream, to quote my dear fellow Fulbrighter Lillygol Sedaghat! What a dream this has been, fusing my many worlds seamlessly: Taiwan and the U.S.; academic and personal; scholarly and activist. All the while, I have served to the best of my capacity as a cultural ambassador. When I applied for a Fulbright 22 months ago and envisioned what this award would mean to me, the experience has stayed true and close to what it is intended to be: to contribute greatly to the intellectual and curricular vigor of the College for Indigenous Studies and NDHU. By teaching courses that offer cutting-edge scholarship intersecting Indigenous studies, gender studies, and women’s studies, I add vibrancy to the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures, College of Indigenous Studies, and NDHU.  Fulbright Semester as

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Reflections on Failure and Resiliency in Taiwan

Becoming familiar enough with Taipei that you countenance yourself enough to get to where you are supposed to be going without being glued to Google Maps; understanding just enough Chinese that make daily interactions so much more manageable and less stressful; figuring out how to pay your bills at 7-11; becoming a regular at one of your favorite Taiwanese breakfast joints; not being completely overwhelmed when trying to find your way around Taipei Main Station; sharing a smile and small talk with your neighbors while waiting for your trash to be picked up; laughing together with older Taiwanese hikers as they speed past you and your friends on your way up a mountain.  Telling your taxi driver on accident that you need to go to Taoyuan Airport instead of Songshan Airport and completely missing your flight to Matsu; getting on the bus in the complete opposite direction of where you need to go; just nodding along when someone says something that you don’t understand; getting caught way too many times in the rain without an umbrella; trying to ask for something in your broken Chinese and failing miserably; still not understanding Taiwan’s traffic rules; forgetting your mask at home.  When

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Learning Taiwan’s Concepts of Social Justice: My Fulbright Journey at National Chengchi University

It was a colder night than usual in Kaohsiung. For me, it was mildly warm, but the locals all had to wear coats because they are used to scorching hot weather. We were sitting in a tightly packed living room with a mini projector discussing a strategy to get Taiwan’s legislators to promote basic income. I was nervous because I was organizing my first ever large-scale conference based on basic income research in the Asia Pacific, and the date was quickly approaching. This was my first glimpse at the enthusiasm among Taiwan’s activists toward the idea of basic income, even though the idea was not well known in early 2017. Although the meetings did not produce much in terms of feasible strategy, it did calm my nerves that there may be potential for enough support in Taiwan to create a sustainable organization for basic income. Fast forward to 2020 and I have been re-elected to my second term as chairman of the UBI Taiwan NGO, which researches and promotes discussion of Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). We legally founded the NGO in 2018, although we had been actively holding conferences and writing white paper policy proposals well before then. In the

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Genetics and Public Health of the Taiwanese Population

My research centers on the identification of inherited genetic variation that influences disease risk in humans. Only within the last decade, following the completion of the human genome project and rapid developments in DNA sequencing technology, has this been possible. Results from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have demonstrated both the feasibility and the potential for identifying unexpected biological pathways of disease – pathways that seem likely, in many cases, to be the targets of successful new therapies and predictive risk assessments at the individual and population levels. Most GWAS are case-control studies that look for significant genotype frequency differences at 500,000 to 1,000,000 variable DNA sequences (termed SNPs) throughout the genome. Success is dependent on sample size, typically involving 1,000’s of subjects. This is because the relative impact of a variant tends to be minor, and because the large number of independent statistical tests that are performed  requires statistical power. Over the past decade, such GWASs have been cobbled together with collections of existing DNA samples, and collectively they have identified from the low dozens to the low hundreds of genes associated with many of the most common human diseases. Many of the discovered genes have turned out to be

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Reflections on Taiwan

I am honored to have been included in the first Fulbright International Education Administrators Seminar in Taiwan.  I applied to this experience to enrich myself and to hopefully bring back ideas on how my university can send more students to Taiwan.  This seminar marks my first experience in an Asian country, and it was an opportunity of a lifetime to see life in Taiwan and to hear from locals about their home country and culture. I greatly enjoyed seeing how welcoming and open-minded the people I encountered were.  Especially when I do not know the language, I try to avoid being the stereotypical traveler who thinks that everyone knows my language.  So, I enjoyed the pantomiming and my (sometimes failed) attempts at interacting with people in markets, restaurants, and on the street.  I only had one time that I truly felt frustrated – and that was when I had already eaten a meal at the night market, and I was wanting to pay.  It shows how trusting Taiwanese people are when even with expressions and trying to hand over money, they thought I was wanting to order food, not pay for what I had already received.  Then there was the

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Reflections on the Fulbright International Education Administrators Grant to Taiwan

My journey to the Fulbright IEA began in a meeting with some of the people in my International Office. A the time I was at Western Kentucky University (WKU), as the Associate Dean of my college. I dealt with all things having to do with off-campus travel, and in this meeting we discussed some international opportunities for faculty and students. One of the administrators present asked if I planned to apply for a Fulbright IEA. In all honesty I had not heard of the IEA program before that but in browsing, I could see that  some of the countries seemed to align with what we were doing here at WKU. Moreover, some of the timetables for applications and visits seemed to work out. Because it was the closest deadline, I initially applied for an IEA in Germany, but was not accepted. Taiwan was my original first choice, so I re-wrote my application, applied, and was accepted.  In fact, the notification of acceptance came while I was in Cuba working to establish connections with a couple of universities there. Cuba’s internet WiFi infrastructure is not reliable, so I was in a park holding my phone at an angle trying to connect

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An Unexpected Journey: How I Became a Master’s Student in Taiwan

The Decision to Come to Taiwan I believe that it is nothing short of a miracle that I am in Taiwan. In order to understand how I got here, we have to go back to my undergraduate years. I enjoyed my four years at the University of South Carolina, a college in my home state where I found my best friends, subjects that intrigued me, and issues I wanted to stand up for. What I did not find, and still do not know to this day, is the answer to this question: “So, what are you going to do next?” I have always hated this question, no matter whether it comes from well-meaning strangers, family members, friends, or academic colleagues. It is such a loaded question, one that to me implies “I know what you are doing now is great, but you need to stop living in this moment and create a 5-year plan, specifically one that abides by our societal timeline – education, job, family, retirement.” Now I am not saying that people should not plan for the things that they want in their future, but other people have no right to stress us out with this question and

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IEA Seminar Taiwan: A Taste of Asia

My International Education Administrators trip to Taiwan was full of delightful surprises, including wonderful food, amazing Taiwanese people and unforgettable new colleagues from the U.S.  There are countless moments that struck me during my two weeks in Taiwan as we visited 16 universities and five foreign agencies.  Overall, I felt honored to be a Fulbright and to be included in this inaugural experience.   This honor was elevated when my group heard the first female president of Taiwan address the Fulbright Scholars of South East Asia.  Moreover, our group was encouraged to make contacts with U.S. Fulbright Scholars and discuss their ground-breaking work.  Indeed, we met with Taiwanese Alumni Fulbright Scholars to discuss the impact of Fulbright on their lives.  As a U.S. Fulbright Scholar-Brazil ’91, I shared immense pride in the accomplishment of these individuals.  Additionally, as an IEA participant, I was encouraged to advise my students and faculty to pursue these opportunities.  When  I returned home, I learned that two of my students had been awarded Fulbrights – one an ETA and one a Fulbright Student Award. During our trip to Taiwan, we met the minister of Foreign Affairs.  She was gracious and answered all of our questions.  We

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The design and learning analytics of minimized collaborative scientific problem-solving activities considering cultural differences

Summary of work Researchers and educators consider CPS as one of the core competencies of the 21st century. However, students often fail to solve a problem as they do not coordinate with peers to reflect upon their CPS activities. To help teachers develop collaborative activities to foster CPS ability, my work in the host institute focused on two main parts: the development of collaborative science learning activities and the analysis of active learning practice, specifically the collaborative learning practice, in the new ALCs. Regarding the collaborative science learning activity, my work has implemented twenty CPS simulations for CPS learning activities, both in Chinese and English, and has established a collaboration network between multiple countries including the European Union, Spain, Thailand and Singapore. Regarding the analysis of active learning practices, the work in the host institution and my prior works were integrated to form a Pedagogy, Space, and Technology (PST) model of space and technology design in supporting collaborative learning on campus which was featured by the IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology as one of the keynote speeches of The 18th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies in Bombay. Background It has been stressed by social constructivists that in-depth learning occurs

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When Ability-Grouping Program Meets Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

Considering the whole process of my teaching career a chapter book, to be able to come to America and learn again seems to be the best chapter of all. It is like a dream come true. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to The U.S. Department of State and Fulbright Taiwan Commission for granting me the prestigious opportunity of becoming a part of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program for International Teachers (FDAI). It has been a fruitful journey. Not only did the program broaden my horizon as a teacher, but it also provided potential solutions to the challenges I am facing in the classroom.  Although my adventure in the U.S. was disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the amount and value of information collected was still overwhelming. Eventually, the report of my inquiry project will serve as a resource bank of research-based teaching practices for the teachers who try to teach ability-grouped classrooms in Taiwan’s elementary schools.  Focus Identified  Taiwanese English teachers recognize the biggest challenge in the classroom as the gaps that exist between students’ proficiency levels. These gaps make it difficult to teach effectively. Multiple attempts including in-class peer tutoring, pull-out morning remedial

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Research & Reflections

fulbright taiwan online journal