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Teachers to focus on global education issues at institute

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Jul. 10, 2006 

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"Teachers change your world" adorns the backs of the T-shirts given to the 31 participants of the annual International Studies Summer Institute hosted by the IU Center for Global Change.

Middle school and high school teachers traveling from as far as Nepal and Sri Lanka will call IU home for the next two weeks as they participate in a series of panels and discussions examining the issues of globalization, such as environmental change, conflict resolution, international trade and populations at risk.

"It is an experience of words," said Deborah Hutton, ISSI program coordinator. "(The participants) read, listen, discuss, produce and analyze."

Guest speakers in the fields of geography, international relations, sustainable energy and farming provide the participants with a new perspective, but modeling different teaching methods is equally emphasized. The lecture formats will portray interactive video, film, panel discussions and experiential learning as effective ways to make the information accessible to students and link them to the world.

"For the teachers, we have an educator to make the connection between the information and the classroom," Hutton said.

This task falls to Graham Pike, who is in his fifth year as faculty of record for the ISSI.

"Teachers require something different," Pike said, explaining the difference between the institute's goals and that of a conference.

Pike will be leading a series of seminars in which the teachers will analyze the information presented by the guest speakers.

"This is how we translate the information received into classroom practice," he said.

The brainchild of Executive Director N. Brian Winchester at the IU Center for the Study of Global Change, the summer institute was developed in accordance with funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI program.

Initially created as an outreach program for high school students, ISSI sought to develop greater awareness of international issues and attract new students to IU. During the past 11 years, the summer institute has shifted from enrolling high school students to enrolling teachers for grades seven to 12.

"There is more focus on teachers and teaching strategies," Pike said. "Teachers don't see how high school students react to the information, which can be really informative and instructive."

Taking advantage of IU's extensive international network, ISSI is marketed through alumni magazines, clubs and educational newsletters.

Among the first to arrive in Bloomington were three Taiwanese English teachers from the Zhongshan Girls High School in Taipei, Taiwan. Though weary from the extended flight from Asia, they arrived at Foster residence hall in good spirits.

"We want to learn some new ideas and approaches to integrate into our lessons," said Mei-Hui Chang, who said she wants to strengthen her familiarity with international issues for a humanities class she teaches.

In anticipation of the coming weeks, they noted their initial attraction to the institute's globally oriented topics and the opportunity improve their ability to teach in English.

"If I know, perhaps I can enlighten my students," Chang said.

"But we have to enlighten ourselves first," added Mei-Tzu w, her fellow teacher.

The institute has received rave reviews from past participants who value the opportunity to interact with fellow teachers from across the globe.

"It gets better each year," Pike said. "We take the best from the past and build on it."

 

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