Home > Uncategorized > Teachers for Global Classrooms – Face to Face (finally!)

Teachers for Global Classrooms – Face to Face (finally!)

Saturday afternoon at the airport. Leaving Washington after the first symposium in the Teachers for Global Classrooms program.

The last two days have been a whirl of nametags and networking, graphic organizers and buffet meals, attempts to connect familiar names and increasingly familiar faces with home states, academic disciplines, and international destinations.  We were teachers, school administrators, IREX organizers, and State Department leaders, all with a commitment to learning about the world and cultivating curiosity about it.

photo of symposium participants

A few impressions rise to the top of my teeming mind:

  • It’s a pleasure to be part of such a well designed program.  It has many components, and they fit together precisely.  The online course, for example, prepares us for elements of the Capstone project, and the syposium sessions help structure our in country experience.
  • Each component has been designed according to sound educational principles.  Where lectures are used, they are efficient and supported by visual aids.  Most tasks are built around active participation and inquiry.  They foster collegiality and productive collaboration.
  • It’s fun to be in the student’s shoes, both to experience uncertainty about expectations and the freedom not to worry about what’s next.
  • We are the first cohort of fellows in this program.  IREX has run various exchanges for the State Department, but this is new.  One critical feature: we will all have host teachers during our 6 day visit to a school when we go abroad,  and those hosts will be alumni of a 5-month education leadership program in the US (also run by IREX for the State Department).  In other words, these hosts will be well positioned to help us interpret our experience.

Tina Bessias by Teachers for Global Classrooms sign

  • The State Department has developed this focus on education because they see teachers as citizen ambassadors with a broad reach.  Our charge is to increase realistic understanding of the US when we’re abroad and of other countries when we’re back home.  By developing global competency in ourselves, our students, and our schools, we pave the way for professional diplomacy, trade, etc.
  • This program sets high standards, and it treats teachers as a valuable resource.
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