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Fulbright Teaching Program engages community


By Bailey Moser



The Fulbright Distinguished Teaching Program has been underway at the School of Education since classes began in August. Participants from around the world have been working hands-on in Bloomington.

Fulbright Distinguished Teachers have the opportunity to work within the community alongside fellow teachers and advisors and hands-on in the classroom.

The Center for International Education, Development and Research is a part of the School of Education.

“The value of cultural immersion to enhance learning cannot be overestimated,” Patricia Kubow, director of the CIEDC, said in an email. “There is no substitute for bringing people from different countries together for face-to-face interaction with IU faculty, Indiana host teachers and schools, and other conference-going professional development 
activities.”

This year’s teachers are from Botswana, Chile, Finland, India, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. The application process is different for 
each country.

“It’s an expected thing to do in Singapore that the Fulbrighters share their learning experience,” Premaletha Gopalakrishnan, a Fulbright distinguished teacher, said. “So when I attended the sharing by the alumni, I was quite excited about it and thought maybe I would like to give this a try.”

Gopalakrishnan said the selection process started in August 2014. After three rounds of interviews, she found out she was selected to come to campus this 
August.

Even though Gopalakrishnan has taken her students all around the world, she said she was stepping out of her comfort zone coming to Bloomington.

“IU, through its Center for International Education, Development and Research in the School of Education, facilitates educational programming, course auditing, faculty-teacher mentor relationships, school visits and cultural activities all designed to deepen the international Fulbright Distinguished Teachers’ understandings of education cross-culturally and about the U.S. educational system in particular,” Kubow said.

Roberto Flores comes to the Fulbright Program in Bloomington from the southern part of Chile. This is the first time the country is participating in the program.

In Chile, the program is extremely prestigious, and many teachers said they planned to apply.

Advertising is not really nationwide,” Flores said. “I was lucky to hear from the school administrator about this program, so I applied for it immediately, even though it was on my vacation time.”

After two months of a long and exhausting process, Flores said he got the news that he was selected to participate in this 
experience.

The Fulbright Distinguished Teachers have had the opportunity to engage with school communities in Bloomington, Indianapolis and Columbus, Indiana, and will soon observe classrooms in Chicago, according to the release.

“I have learned a lot about the educational system in the U.S., how special education is addressed in schools, the learning of cultural exchange knowledge with teachers from around the world, and I hope to carry on learning thanks to the courses that I am auditing at IU,” Flores said.

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