An important aspect of teaching is sharing a wide variety of life experiences to enhance student’s worldview. These experiences come from many different places and can greatly impact a teachers style and lessons. Paige Cox, a newspaper and English teacher has received great experiences from the “Teachers for Global Classrooms” program.
The “Teachers for Global Classrooms” program, or TGC program, is an attempt to globalize classrooms by sending US teachers all over the world. Cox spent time in Colombia, taking in the way they learn, the culture, and the environment.
The experience was influential to Cox and her worldview. It was a once in a lifetime trip that very few people get to experience.
“I think it’s just a real honor to be able to experience someone else’s world and how completely different it is for you, even in a place like Colombia which is essentially western,” Cox said.
The focus of the program is not only on teachers but also for students who tend to be focused on individual struggles. Their own worlds, small and specific, don’t include the big picture of the world around them
“I think sometimes I am reminding American students that they’re global citizens and that that’s a good thing,” Cox said.
Max Burnham, the program coordinator of the TGC program, believes that it is essential for the country to boost student’s education and enhanced classrooms nationwide.
“We hope that our teacher fellows build lasting relationships and connections with teachers and classrooms in other countries,” Burnham said, “This is a main goal of the the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, who funds the Fulbright TGC Program.”
Participants in the TGC program travel to countries including Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Philippines, Republic of Georgia, Russian Federation, Senegal, Ukraine and Peru. They are constantly looking for new applicants and have begun sending all teachers K-12.
“It is never too early to begin learning about the world and making connections with people different from oneself,” Burnham said.
Assistant principal Nicole Herndon welcomes the availability of the TGC program as a way to enhance all classroom experiences.
“The role of teachers is vital to society and it is amazing to see how teaching can be a connecting point and open different dialogues across various cultures, languages and experiences,” Herndon said.
Cox was excited to go on the trip because she wanted to bring her interest in global education to her students in a more tangible way.
“I always want to go and enjoy new experiences that I can bring back to the classroom,” Cox said.
While in Colombia, Cox learned how great it was to spend time in such a vibrant culture with a gorgeous landscape littered with mountains.
“I love the feeling of life in the streets, the people in the town squares and everyone is just so full of energy,” Cox said.
The hope for the program is that in the future, classrooms all across the US will have a very diverse worldview and have established connections with schools all over the world.
“Our fellows help develop these lasting connections and mutual understanding throughout their fellowship, and particularly during their travel abroad,” Burnham said.