US Teachers Internationalize Their Classrooms
“Connecting with people on the other side of the globe is not as difficult or as complicated as it seems.”
–Diana Garvey, US Teacher
Across the country, American teachers are recognizing the importance of infusing their teaching with international content and themes. A social studies teacher who traveled to Argentina during 2010 is developing a Historical Fiction Library in her Massachusetts school, which will include books from various international cultures. She says, “It is my hope that by having historical fiction books available to students that they will learn to love history and develop a strong appreciation of our world's diversity.”
A Colorado teacher of English as a Second Language who traveled to Tajikistan has developed a project in which her students, many of whom come from immigrant families, will create personal narratives about their cultural heritage: “This project will encourage immigrant students to share their own global perspectives through personal digital stories which will then be shared with classmates, the school, and the community.”
These teachers are among a group of over 100 US teachers who traveled internationally on a professional development grant funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, and implemented by IREX. The impact of these international opportunities reaches beyond these individual teachers and into the lives of their students and communities.
American classrooms are becoming increasingly multicultural. The diversity of the faculty and student body in a typical US high school is a reflection of the diversity of the American populace. In order to effectively reach students with dissimilar backgrounds and cultural traditions, US teachers need to equip themselves with a twenty-first century skill set that includes the capacity for cross-cultural communication. Through the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program (TGC), IREX supports US teachers in their efforts to internationalize their classrooms, effectively reach their diverse students, and continually enhance their teaching practice.
To hear from more US teachers about how their international experience has shaped their teaching, please watch the video.