February 27, 2013

A Geography Teacher Steps into the Map

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Teacher Laura Ross participated in the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program
Laura Ross— a seventh grade geography teacher from St. Louis, Missouri—has been teaching for 15 years. One year ago Laura applied to Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) —State Department sponsored program that seeks to globalize U.S. classrooms by sending American teachers abroad. 

 With months till her departure for a three week program in India, Laura sits down with ECA at the pre-departure TGC symposium to share her experience with the application process; her hopes for the upcoming trip; and what she’s learned from the program thus far.

 “I found out about the program online,” says Laura. “I researched, found the website, and applied for it. The application process is focused on how you want to apply global education in the classroom. I applied last year so it is quite a long and in-depth process.”

Laura has yet to leave for India but claims the pre-departure prep courses alone have already globalized her teaching style. 

“My whole understanding of teaching has really transformed with this experience,” says Laura.  “Even before I’ve gone it’s brought a lot of changes in how I approach things. I find the approach I’m using now is more inquiry based-- having the students problem solve things and look at alternative view points. I think it has really allowed me to see the specific objectives of global education.”

 “The actual program itself is very rigorous. You take a class online and it’s a series of readings and videos. You also have a blackboard program where you talk to teachers in other disciplines about global education. The readings and the videos are very enlightening. They really open your mind to things that you can use in the classroom.”

Laura hopes more teachers will realize the critical need for globalized classrooms in America and consider applying for the TGC program. 

 “I highly recommend doing this,” says Laura.  “This program is so important. I’m a learner and I think education itself is changing and I find that the students today learn differently.  So I’m always looking for new approaches. I want to make sure my students are getting their needs met from me. You can’t keep a static classroom. The world is not flat. We’re more connected now than ever.”

Laura will be traveling to India with 11 other teachers as well as program staff. Upon arrival the teachers will be split into groups of two and dispersed to different schools. After her trip, Laura hopes to bring a solid global perspective back to Rockwood South Middle School.

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