Keyes Charter School social studies teacher Vicki Harmon is making strides in strengthening her students' relationships with others around the globe.
"I want my students to get ready for the work place and learn to interact with other people from around the world. Making connections is key," Harmon said.
Harmon was selected with a group of 80 educators to participate in a field experience to Brazil during the summer as part of the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program's International Field Experience. For three weeks, Harmon received professional development and extensive training to apply in her classroom.
"Through my training in Brazil I witnessed the barrier of the English language," said Harmon. "There are too many teachers that are teaching English who don't even understand the language or how to speak it. It poses a big problem because the students are directly being affected by it."
During the TGC International Field Experience, Harmon had the opportunity to travel and collaborate with other teachers around the nation. She attended seminars on the history, culture, and education of the host country and through her in-country experience she participated in discussions on educational issues. Harmon then traveled to a local school to observe and team-teach with students, teachers, and administrators from the host-country.
"I felt the need to share my knowledge and experience with my students," said Harmon. "I want our students to be involved with the students of Brazil and build ties."
Upon her return, Harmon felt the need to include her experiences with her classrooms. This week, her students will be connecting with the students from Brazil.
"We will make this connection possible through the technology we have available," said Harmon. "Students will be individually paired with a student from Brazil and teach them how to speak English. This will be done through Skype and email. We also have an idea of having both our students and Brazil students working on a collaborative project."
Harmon will reconvene with her fellow 80 teachers in October 2013 in Washington, DC, to share their experiences and to discuss best practices for internationalizing U.S. schools.