This summer, Spanish and English Language Development (ELD) teacher Debbie McCrea will travel to India for three weeks to participate in the Teachers for a Global Classroom program, which sends teachers from the United States to teach their subject to students in schools in foreign countries as well as work with teachers at these schools to share new teaching methods.
The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and McCrea will be one of 15 teachers, each from different states, who was selected out of a group of over 400 applicants to be a part of the program.
Global education will be the focus of instruction in the program. McCrea will join her host teacher in leading discussions with the students about global issues and their possible solutions.
“Global education is all about having a broader perspective, and I think that’s really the solution to a lot of our problems as a world,” McCrea said. “The goal is cross cultural collaboration and that countries have more respect for their culture.”
McCrea said that in addition to working with the students, she will work with teachers on improving the teaching model they have in place at public high schools, where she will likely be working.
“I think a lot of countries and schools are pretty traditional––a teacher gets up there and lectures,” she said. “Another goal of this is just getting kids more involved in wanting to learn and thinking creatively.”
McCrea will be teaching some classes with a host teacher at a school in Bangalore. She will also participate in staff development programs to show the teachers effective teaching methods used in the United States as well as U.S. culture in general.
McCrea’s subject focus will be English, which she thinks will help her learn more about the people and the country.
“I always love teaching languages because our content is communication,” she said. “In English you can talk about what you think and you can talk about yourself, so I think [as] an English teacher I will be able to learn a lot about the people.”
McCrea also said that she is looking forward to exploring a new country. She has been to Latin America for multiple student trips, but has never traveled to Asia.
“I want to be totally out of my comfort zone and in a totally foreign country that has so much diversity,” she said. “I think I will get a lot out of seeing how people get along because in this country, lately especially, there has been a lot of animosity between different groups.”
She said that she is also looking forward to seeing and experiencing the teaching process in India.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what school looks like there, how students act, and how the society functions,” she said. “There are a lot of problems there with overpopulation and the environment, so I’m really interested to see how it all looks.”
When she returns, she hopes to bring a broader perspective back to the classroom and to her daily life.
“We get so caught up in this laundry list of things we have to do, and global education is easy to put in any subject. We just have to think ‘What do you think this perspective would say?’ It’s demonstrating an empathy for people that are different,” she said.