Learning community: finding common ground in difference

Finding Common Ground at Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
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Finding Common Ground Can be Difficult

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Learning Community: Finding Common Ground in Difference

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Learning Community Finding Common Ground in Difference

Although the languages they speak and the classrooms they use may be vastly different, when you put teachers from around the globe together they all want to focus on one thing-how to become better teachers. For the past six weeks, 20 teachers from 17 countries have immersed themselves in professional development workshops and American culture. The holistic program has enabled them to learn more about themselves as teachers and the way of life in the United States, but has also presented the BGSU community and several local schools the opportunity to learn about their cultures.

The State Department Teaching Excellence and Achievement TEA Program brings outstanding secondary science and English as a foreign language EFL teachers from abroad to the United States to further develop expertise in their subject areas, enhance their teaching skills, and increase their knowledge about the U. IREX, who administers the State Department TEA program, is an international nonprofit organization providing thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive lasting change globally.

Because the 20 TEA fellows are experienced educators and viewed as leaders in their communities, social studies education faculty member Dr. Sharon Subreenduth, principal investigator PI of the grant, pulled from the strengths of BGSU's master's degree programs in curriculum and teaching as well as classroom technology when conceptualizing the grant proposal. Cross-curricular interdisciplinary general pedagogy sessions served as the base of the program. Technology classes started midway through before the group dived into content-specific pedagogy, which were accompanied by content-specific technology workshops.

We actually have content-specific technology workshops that IREX has not seen included before and were pleased with," said Subreenduth. One of the main goals for TEA fellow Manjula Sivakumar of India was to implement technology in the classroom to handle large groups of students while giving them individual attention. After completing the program, Sivakumar said, "The technology classes helped me learn multiple technology tools to make my teaching-learning environment interesting and provided methods to assess large classes effectively and quickly.

Even though for some it may be difficult to integrate technology in their classrooms when they return home, for Subreenduth, it's important that the teachers now have another avenue of professional development and can incorporate technology into their own planning and preparing in order to be productive in the classroom. In addition to the pedagogy and technology workshops, the teachers actively participated in inquiry-based discussions and curriculum.

The goal is to get students talking, laughing and sharing, which will release dopamine. Dopamine creates a feeling of well-being and the brain signals a desire to have more of the activity causing the feeling, whether it be healthy peer interactions, engaging in the class community or laughing and sharing with the teacher. Here are some ways you can ensure this process continues throughout the year. Student profiles.

Student Profiles are a powerful tool that can be referenced throughout the year. These can also provide keys to engaging the child that is quieter, more reserved and resistant to peer or teacher interaction. Daily check-ins. It can be a tremendous help in priming the brain for learning to have a few minutes of check-in time at the beginning of class. My strategy evolved into what we called "Big World-Little World. This led to several students sharing comments, suggestions and questions regarding the interview.

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It was a beautiful thing! And the start of our daily ritual at the beginning of every class. They indeed found common ground and began to feel like a family, wanting to share things going on in their little world throughout the year.

Remain vigilant and allow for sharing. One powerful moment happened when one of my American students was commenting on the living conditions in Iraq. I could tell immediately that one of my Iraqi students was becoming visibly agitated.

I asked if he would be willing to share what he was thinking and feeling. Thankfully he was, and it was an amazing opportunity for other students to learn from him regarding how inaccurate some of their perceptions had been.

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