SHS Chinese class takes learning to a new level


Ning Zhang

LEARN. First-hand learning experiences at its finest, 30 SHS Chinese class students traveled to Fuyao’s manufacturing plant in Dayton, Ohio, after watching the documentary “American Factory.” According to Chinese 5 student, Theo Eborall, 12, “…I  found it really interesting to watch and learn how the two cultures worked together.”

On September 5, 30 students from the SHS Chinese class took a field trip to visit Fuyao’s manufacturing plant in Dayton, Ohio.  As one of the largest auto glass producers in the world, as well as the industry’s leading producer, Fuyao is a global glass manufacturing company, with it’s biggest manufacturing plant located about an hour north of SHS. Their customers include established brands such as Honda, Kia, and BMW.

So what inspired this trip?

Turns out, it all started back in Chinese class where students watched the documentary, “American Factory,” to learn about the cultural differences between Chinese and American companies. Afterward, Chinese teacher, Ning Zhang, said she recognized a friend in the movie, so she went ahead and contacted them to see if they’d be willing to give the class a tour of their plant.

A week later and the students boarded the bus to Fuyao Glass America Inc. 

There, Fuyao’s Director of Administration, Andrew Ma, guided the class along a tour of the showroom. Additionally, he took them down to the production lines where students could see the machinery and workers at work up close. Afterward, students even got the chance to speak with some people featured in the documentary.

Now unlike what most may think of a factory, the students’ general consensus was very modernized, pointing out that a lot of the production line actually consisted of robots versus people.

First-hand experiential learning at its best, just a week after watching the movie, students got to visit the site in person and see things from the movie.

So what did the students think of the experience?

According to Chinese 4 student, Kai Blunt, “It was interesting to compare what we learned from the movie to what we saw in the factory plant.”

Like many of the other students, Blunt found the plant quite “cool,” noting the modern use of highly advanced robots and machinery. 

Upon speaking to Director Ma, “consistency and efficiency” constitute the primary reasons for their addition to the production line.

Overall, another general takeaway revealed an interesting lesson on the merging of two cultures, or in this case, the collaboration between the  American and Chinese workers.

“Because Fuyao’s founder and current chairman, Cho Tak Wang, is Chinese, I initially expected a majority of Chinese workers. Turns out, 1900 out of the 2300 employees are local to the Ohio region, so I found it really interesting to watch and learn how the two cultures worked together,” said Chinese 5 student, Theo Eborall, 12.