By Kelly Clark
In discussing the global competencies with teachers and administrators, I often hear, “No one on my staff has traveled abroad, how are we supposed to do this?”
Not many schools are fortunate enough to have full-time international teachers or have local communities that host international school partners. There are other ways of bringing the world to your door, even if your door is fairly remote and your budget limited.
- Encourage international experiences for teachers and administration.
While there are many companies that advertise international travel, GEEO — Global Explorations for Educators — is a nonprofit organization focused on educators and developing global lessons based from the travel experience. Trips occur throughout the year and GEEO can create custom trips or focus areas; for example, all science teachers travel to one region in particular for an entire school or district.
- Encourage exchange students from abroad in your school and community.
Exchange students gain an invaluable experience and at the same time, serve as traveling ambassadors of their country and culture. High school students also should be encouraged to travel as exchange students; the benefits for students go beyond educational measures. The U.S. Government Exchange Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs offer a solid place to start the search for either student exchange option.
- Lastly, create systems and spaces in your school for students, teachers and community members to share their journeys and stories to promote a love of travel and exploration.
Letting staff that have traveled or exchange students, business partners or international community members come in for an international day, to speak to grade level groups or record a “fact of the day” for morning announcements or school broadcast about their travels or foreign culture. Students who travel also should get to share their adventures with other students in words or pictures. Try a “Where’s Waldo” theme for the school as a geographical quiz with hints from people who have traveled about different countries or continents.