Having participated in TWB-C workshops in Africa, I cannot but help see glaring differences between teachers in developing countries and those from the North. Exchange programs enables teachers explore creative and interesting ways that they are leveraging technology to make teaching and learning more exciting and responsive to the needs in the contemporary society.
I think that is a great rhetorical question. This is an age old problem facing USA & abroad that many teachers lack the knowledge and understanding of communities outside their back yards. Many educators have not had the benefit of working in marginalized communities and fall short of the differences in more affluent places. In the USA, we live in the free world where everything is directed towards leveling the playing field, especially those subtexts associated with race and economics that divide our classrooms unequally. The economics and race are threads of our educational system that seemingly drives outcomes. Why can't the poor achieve at the same level as more advantaged populations if teachers are teaching from the same standards? As long as we are classified (poor, middle, and upper) we will continue to widen the gap of teaching and experiences that should be automatic civil right for all children.
I don't feel that educators who choose to broaden their wheel house to work in isolated places (other countries) are at a disadvantage. I see this as an opportunity to experience education at a different level and broaden the level of expertise. Either way, there is a benefit on both a personal and professional level.
One of the ways that educators alike can benefit from this level of experience is to establish a collabortive network and share experiences, lessons and stories.
If you are stuck with a problem, sometimes it makes sense to look at it with a new pair of glasses. There are problems in the education system of every country, which directly or indirectly affects the future of students. If teachers all over the world join hands and team up to solve these problems, you would be surprised to see how better the lives of students could be. It is understandable that some nations are being plagued with severe issues with respect to infrastructure, finances and planned curriculum. So, at first, our focus should be in helping out those countries to form a better education system. Secondly, the teachers need to be trained to teach slightly difficult subjects like Science or Math as they require a great deal of understanding.While changing a country's financial and educational system is out of our hands, we teachers can and should train each other in different skillsets. I believe we all have something to teach others. It would be great if more institutions are open to teacher exchange programs. But if that is not possible, some kind of an audio-video online platform where teachers can connect and teach would be great!
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