Educators from Around the Globe Improving their Teaching Skills at Kent State
A group of 22 secondary school teachers from 20 different countries is spending six weeks at Kent State University as part of a Fulbright program of professional development for foreign educators.
The Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by IREX and Kent State. Teachers in the program take part in academic professional development at a host university.
Kent State’s Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education within the College of Education, Health and Human Services successfully applied for the grant to be a host university for the Fulbright group.
Amanda Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Read Center, said Kent State has hosted the program before and she is pleased this group comes from such a diverse array of countries. The teachers are from Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, India, Jordan, Mali, Moldova, Nigeria, Peru, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay and Uzbekistan.
Teacher Sawsel Essid, of Tunisia, shares her Fulbright program experience at Kent State.
In addition to taking English language and math courses at Kent State, each visiting teacher is assigned to a school classroom in the Kent, Ohio, area, where they spend one day each week observing and sharing their knowledge and expertise with local teachers and students.
“They really get the sort of deep dive into K-12 education in Ohio, specifically secondary education,” Johnson said. “We partner them with either language teachers or math educators.”
Nelson Kwashie, a high school teacher from Ghana, talks about his experience as a Fulbright scholar at Kent State.
The teachers are at public high schools and middle schools in Kent, Streetsboro, Aurora, Hudson, Kentston and Stow-Munroe Falls districts.
While they are here, the teachers stay at the Kent State University Hotel but are given university meal plans so they can use their Flashcards to frequent Kent eateries as well.
In addition, each teacher is paired with a local “friendship family” who volunteers to host them for dinners and other events so the teachers can experience American culture.
“It’s not just Kent State that’s benefitting, but it’s the Kent community as well,” Johnson said.
Harish Yadav, a teacher from India, talks about his experience in the Fulbright program at Kent State.
Julee Henry, Ph.D., director of Technology and Instructional Resources within the college, is teaching an educational technology course to the visiting teachers, who have varying levels of tech skills upon arrival. She also shows them all the technology resources Kent State has to offer including the Design Innovation Hub, and the AT&T Classroom in the Research Center for Educational Technology.
“It has been really incredible,” said Henry, who also serves as part-time educational technology faculty. “I feel like a lot of the time I am learning as much from them as they are from me.”
Henry said she is learning what is going on in their schools, what access to technology is available to their students, and what technology issues their students face in their home countries. She shares resources online that the group can access when they return home.
The course focuses on helping the teachers develop a fix to a tech problem in their classrooms so that they can return home with a solution to help alleviate the stress they or their students have, Henry said.
“They are so excited for the different opportunities that we discuss,” she said.
Photo credits: Julee Henry and Hannah Park/College of Education, Health and Human Services