International Education Week (IEW) is a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate the benefits of international education and cultural exchange around the globe. This celebration is held November 18–22, 2019, and is a joint initiative between the US Department of State and the US Department of Education. IEW is an effort to promote programs that prepare US students for a globally connected world and attract educators from other countries to study, learn, and exchange experiences.
At Participate Learning, we believe our programs provide the foundation for our mission to create global, cultural, and language connections that empower students and educators to positively impact the world. Achieving this mission would not be made possible without the hard work and dedication of our ambassador teachers. To celebrate IEW, read on to learn more about the success stories of our ambassador teachers in incorporating their own cultures and experiences into their classrooms.
Tracy-Ann: fourth-grade teacher at Featherstone Elementary (Prince William County, VA), Jamaica
Tracy-Ann Campbell-Walcott is a fourth-grade teacher at Featherstone Elementary. As an educator originally from Jamaica, Tracy-Ann has had the opportunity to share her Caribbean culture and interests with her students during her cultural exchange. Only four months into her cultural exchange journey, Tracy-Ann has shared one of her favorite pastimes with her school —track and field!
Tracy-Ann was able to foster student interest in running by becoming a coach within the school-wide Girls on the Run program, with almost thirty members. Gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a personal friend of Campbell-Walcott, video chatted with the group and shared about what motivates her running and how she relates to the core values of Girls on the Run like understanding yourself, valuing relationships and teamwork, and recognizing one’s influence on the world.
Rui Gou: world language teacher at Daniels Middle School (Wake County, NC), China
Rui Gou is a world language teacher at Daniels Middle School. Rui is an educator from China who was excited to share Chinese cuisine with his students. For this lesson, students got to know eight major Chinese cuisine styles as well as choose a western cuisine they enjoy, such as American, Italian, or Mexican. They compared the different cuisines by analyzing history, region, special features, taste, and major ingredients to gain a better understanding of familiar and unfamiliar dishes.
Students were then given the opportunity to learn about a specific Chinese dish by watching videos, learning vocabulary, and explaining the whole cooking process to a family member and trying to make it at home. Through this cultural exchange activity, students gained a better knowledge of Chinese cuisine and had a firsthand experience of Chinese cooking practice.
Martina Luber: second-grade teacher at Sand Ridge Elementary (Union County, NC), Germany
Martina Luber is a second-grade teacher at Sand Ridge Elementary. Originally from Germany, Martina wanted to use her experiences to have a hybrid German-Bavarian day with her students. Some of the activities on this day included greeting each using “Guten morgen” and decorating the classroom with the Bavarian colors of blue and white. The class spent time exploring different traditional items from these countries, including dialect, cuisine, animals, landmarks, clothes, and dances.
They also baked a traditional Bavarian pretzel that was shared as they researched the famous Schloss Neuschwanstein castle. The students also worked together to make a poster and present their research findings. At the end of the day, Martina’s class read a classic children’s book, Max und Moritz, from Germany with German dialogue included. Using their knowledge from their daily mini German lessons, they were able to translate a great deal of the dialogue and demonstrated their growth in learning another language.
When teachers incorporate their personal experiences, interests, and cultures into lessons, students are given an entirely new perspective of the world. Global education and cultural exchange are invaluable to students, as they teach them to be tolerant, accepting, and culturally aware of others.