August 22, 2011 5:45 AM
The escalating European debt crisis may sound like someone else’s problem, but students who are trained to think globally from a young age understand its international repercussions. At least that’s the theory behind an ambitious professional development conference planned for April 2012 by the Tulane Teacher Preparation and Certification Program.
With funding from the Longview Foundation, a day-and-a-half “Training Global Teachers for Global Classrooms” event will show 200 educators, administrators and university and community college faculty the latest tools and technologies to expand their teaching toolbox — even if they’ve never left the country.
“We’re going to teach them how to step outside their comfort zone,” says Linda McKee, director of the teacher certification program. “We can no longer ignore what is happening in the world around us.”
In the younger grades, an international classroom may use language immersion to boost student achievement. As students mature, so does their capacity to link local issues to broader trends. High schools go global by giving courses a comparative edge, placing overall learning within the context of international studies, geography, history and culture.
Higher education instructors can use similar techniques to prepare students to become global citizens by thinking critically and making connections in an increasingly borderless world, says Molly Travis, executive director of the Tulane Center for Global Education. The conference is open to teachers of students in pre-K through university levels, to drive home that point.
“This will be informational and eye-opening to faculty from a variety of departments,” says Travis.
To ensure lessons learned make it to the classroom, organizers have devised a three-part evaluation plan spread over two years, including pre- and post-tests, focus groups and follow-up surveys, in partnership with the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane. Data collected will form the basis of a 2014 report on the future of internationalization efforts in Louisiana schools.
Kimberly Krupa is director of writing in the Office of Development.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org