MACIE in the News
Two BGSU students will be trading their American classrooms for others in Mexico and Rwanda this August as recipients of Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellowships. For both, it will be the next step in a series of international experiences.
Samantha Boss will be headed to Mexico after her August graduation, and Jessica Batterton will teach in Rwanda; she graduated May 8. Although they do not yet know their exact assignments, both are eager to go abroad again. Both women were Peace Corps volunteers, and both received their graduate degrees through BGSU’s Master of Arts in Cultural and International Education program (MACIE), a Peace Corps Fellows program.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
Although they chose different areas of specializations in their graduate programs, Boss and Batterton share a love of language and literacy that they hope to bring to others.
Boss, from Solon, Ohio, spent her Peace Corps service in in Guatemala, where she was a municipal health coordinator focusing on health and hygiene for 14 elementary schools in and around Zunil, a highlands town of about 20,000. Fluent in Spanish, Boss also learned the local language of K’iche’ and became interested in trilingualism, common in Latin America. At the end of that assignment, she extended her stay another year to work in literacy efforts.
In her MACIE program, she concentrated on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). “The TESOL classes balance the MACIE coursework in theory with practical learning,” she said. “Eventually, I’d like to work in book publishing with indigenous populations, mentoring local writers and helping provide a way for them to publish in their own languages.”
Boss will gain additional teaching experience during her MACIE required internship this summer, as a paraprofessional with the Fremont schools’ Ohio Migrant Education Center.
Batterton, from Vienna, Va., as a Peace Corps volunteer worked in Mozambique teaching English in the district capital of Inhassoro, a fishing town on the Indian Ocean. “I taught English to students in eighth, ninth and tenth grades, which was the highest level in Inhassoro at that time,” she said (today classes go up to 12th grade). “I had students from 14 to 50 years old. The older ones were in the night classes I also taught.”
Batterton’s MACIE concentration was in Educational Development and Marginalized Populations, and included classes in political economy, ethnic studies and history.
“I gained a lot of knowledge that will help me understand the local context and how policies affect local populations,” she said. “I’m able to think more critically now about why things are happening.”
She enjoyed her graduate assistantship during her first year of graduate school as a writing consultant at BGSU’s Learning Commons tutoring center, and said she is eager to get back into one-on-one teaching. In Rwanda, she plans to start a theater club that would combine English and Ikinyarwanda to help students improve their English and to enable people of different generations to connect. She also has an interest in national language policies and how they affect populations. In 2008, Rwanda changed its language of instruction from French to English. English is currently the language of instruction in secondary schools.
“I’m curious to see how that process has unfolded,” Batterton said.
Their love of international culture began early, said Batterton and Boss, with family trips here and abroad. As a high school student, Boss traveled to Ecuador, and as an undergraduate majoring in international studies and development at American University in Washington, D.C., she participated in study abroad in Argentina and Nigeria.
Batterton’s “love of travel and sense of adventure” developed from a young age, she said. She majored in history and Spanish at the University of Virginia, and studied in Peru. Her Spanish skills translated fairly well to Mozambique, she said, where the national language is Portuguese.
BGSU has been successful in recent years in helping graduates obtain student Fulbright awards, whether in research or teaching. Boss and Batterton give a lot of the credit to BGSU Fulbright Program Adviser Jenifer Chambers, director of education abroad and international partnerships in the Office of International Programs and Partnerships, who shepherded them through the process. “Jenifer Chambers is amazing!” they agreed.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.
By Pete Fairbairn
Kevin McClellan ’14 is a Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellow who just received his MA in Cross-Cultural & International Education (MACIE) — including a public health cognate — that builds upon his education and food security work with the Peace Corps and Red Cross in West Africa.
The Toledo native came to the MACIE program as a returning Peace Corps volunteer and a Coverdell Fellow. McClellan had served in Burkina Faso between 2006 and 2009, adding a third year to the normal two in order to work with both the Peace Corps and the Red Cross.
Following that, McClellan re-upped to become a part of Peace Corps Response Mali in 2010. This assignment took him to Bamako, Mali, to work on a food security program supported by USAID.
“The Peace Corps Response program is designed for Peace Corps veterans to provide another volunteer opportunity, but with a little more responsibility, said McClellan. “I was able to apply what I had learned in Burkina Faso, working in a shorter time frame but at an accelerated pace.”
Education and food security in West Africa
McClellan started out in education with the Peace Corps during his volunteer service in Burkina Faso. He was responsible for running afterschool programs, study tables and various other ideas to get kids studying outside of school.
The village had no running water or electricity; so much of his time was spent finding different ways to carry out the Peace Corps’ educational mission with very few community resources.
“Throughout that experience, I began to see that you can’t really deal with educational issues in a vacuum,” recalled McClellan. “There are a lot of other issues going on around it — nutrition, health and hygiene — and those issues need to be addressed as well.”
It was a turning point for McClellan, and the intersections between education and food security in West Africa would soon lead him to the MACIE program at Bowling Green.
Coverdell and MACIE offer the perfect fit
After spending some more time in Bamako as a consultant, McClellan returned to Toledo and began considering what might come next after his international service experiences.
“I was working in Toledo in late 2011 at Kids Unlimited — an after-school and summer program for under-served kids — and recalled hearing about the MACIE program at BG, as well as the Coverdell Fellows program,” said McClellan.
It turns out that BGSU is one of about 80 universities across 33 states and the District of Columbia that partners with the Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellows program to offer financial assistance to returning Peace Corps Volunteers. Bowling Green has sixteen graduate degree programs and three graduate certificates designed to build upon the volunteers’ service and to help apply the many skills they have acquired in the field.
As McClellan looked more closely at MACIE, he realized that it encompassed the key areas he had already worked in — namely, education and public health, the latter being one of five cognates offered within the program.
“In my case, the combination of education and public health aligned perfectly with my education background as well as my work with nutrition and agriculture issues.”
While McClellan had not originally planned to go back for his master’s degree, he had come to realize that many of the job opportunities that interested him either preferred or required a master’s degree. And so he enrolled in the MACIE program as a Coverdell Fellow in the fall of 2012.
High expectations and flexibility
“There are so many different avenues to take in the program,” observed McClellan. “The faculty tends to be flexible, allowing you to pursue the research that interests you while completing the program’s requirements.”
“There are so many different avenues to take in the program,” observed McClellan. “The faculty tends to be flexible, allowing you to pursue the research that interests you while completing the program’s requirements.”
This approach has allowed the Peace Corps veteran to build upon his experiences in West Africa. In addition, McClellan was able to take consulting jobs during the last two summers with myAgro Farms in Bamako, further reinforcing his graduate school experience.
“I’ve been able to take some of the things I saw while overseas in a sort of informal way and then go back and get a greater understanding through the coursework and research,” said McClellan. “The quality of the faculty here has been outstanding.”
He cited Drs. L. Fleming Fallon and Hailu Kassa for their excellence within his Public Health classes, as well as the entire MACIE faculty, including Drs. Christopher Frey, Bruce Collet, Hyeyoung Bang and Sherri Horner. He also wanted to recognize the valuable input and support he received from Dr. Brian Campbell and Amanda Vrooman during his time as a graduate assistant in the Office of Assessment and Research.
“My program has a rigorous curriculum to be sure, and faculty members have very high expectations, which is great,” said McClellan. “I had the opportunity to work very closely with them on their research.”
He pointed to the IREX program as a great example, which brings educators from all over the world to Bowling Green.
“These teachers come in from all these different countries with different cultural backgrounds, different religions, different beliefs and attitudes,” said McClellan. “MACIE students come from working or living internationally for the most part, and we were able to put all of that together and to understand a little bit better where this diverse group of teachers was coming from.”
Sense of community
“I’ve had a great experience here at BGSU in the MACIE program,” said McClellan. “The program allowed some flexibility when I needed it, and the combination of getting the educational foundation with my public health cognate was the right combination for me.”
He also pointed to BGSU’s participation in the Northwest Ohio Consortium for Public Health, which allowed him to take public health classes both at BG and at the University of Toledo Medical Center in order to earn a certificate in Global Health.
Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of his time at BGSU was the sense of community among his fellow Peace Corps volunteers.
“I really enjoyed having all of these other people around me with similar experiences,” said McClellan. “You don’t get that very much elsewhere. You know where they are coming from and that ‘they get it’ … even about readjusting to life in the U.S., which can be a sort of reverse culture shock.”
October 5, 2014 - BGNews - Myah Lanier
The Peace Corps is a two-year commitment that promotes traveling, diversity and helping different cultures around the world.
The organization has been in Bowling Green for quite some time.
One aspect that can determine the Peace Corps’ success is the volunteers, which are usually graduating students.
They usually get an average of ten thousand volunteers a year, according to Peace Corps Recruiter Annabel Khouri.
“We get such a great turnout because we have great recruiting,” she said. “We give information on campus at the career fairs, at Campus Fest and we partner with different organizations who want to make a difference.”
Striving to make a difference is something they strive for and in order to do so they offer a variety of programs for volunteers.
“There are many sectors. [Volunteers] can be an education volunteer, a health volunteer or agriculture and environment volunteer,” Volunteer Jessica Batterton said.
The beginning process usually takes about a year before volunteers are even in another country.
“It was a very long application process. I had to [have a] medical examination to be able to go and do the job,” Batterton said. “Once I was done with that, I got a letter saying where I was stationed and I went there to start my education training.”
Not only is the experience to be worth it, she said, but it’s also one that students can afford.
In order for students to afford to participate, the government funds it.
“We get about $200 a month to cover all expenses,” Volunteer Lindsay Goldberg said. “It’s enough money to live off of because we are going into another country and their cost of living is different from the U.S.”
Some volunteers say the reason for joining the organization is for the learning experience, both culturally and academically.
“This was a way for me to go abroad and take on different challenges with a long commitment,” Goldberg said.
Professor Sherri Horner, a former volunteer, said the opportunity was great and one that made her who she is today.
“After I graduated, I wanted a job that was meaningful and where I could be in the position to help others and travel, so this was a great way to do so,” Horner said.
Horner said the goals of the organization have been successful and provided students with new culture perspectives.
“[The Peace Corps] helps you build a lot of personal development, I think it provides you with great opportunity to go overseas and do volunteer work. Students should really consider becoming a peace Corps Volunteer,” Batterton said.
TRADITIONAL HEALING IN A MODERN WORLD
Martin named Fulbright Student Scholar to Indonesia
By Bonnie Blankinship
As graduation speakers are fond of saying, the commencement ceremony does not represent an end, but a beginning. That is certainly true for Samantha Martin, an August graduate in the Cross-Cultural and International Education (MACIE) program at Bowling Green State University.
Martin with some of her students at the Islamic High School of Panekan, in East Java, during her Peace Corps service.
For Martin, commencement was the next steppingstone in her evolution as a scholar. She is preparing to return to Indonesia in early September, this time as a Fulbright Student Scholar. She served in the island nation as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2010-12. Backing her at BGSU has been a campus-wide support team of faculty and staff.
Martin will conduct a case study of traditional healing practices on Java, the most populous of the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia.
“I have been approved for my research permit from the Indonesian government and am now waiting for my visa to be processed,” she reported. “I have been doing some preliminary research. I received some great help from Dr. Jeremy Wallach and Dr. Esther Clinton in the popular culture studies department at BGSU, who directed me to some great materials and books on Indonesian culture and history. They both have experience in Indonesia, and Dr. Wallach in particular has done quite a bit of research there himself.
“I've also been starting to connect with the existing Peace Corps network in Java, and hopefully those connections will help me learn about communities that may be interested in hosting me and participating in the research project.”
Student Fulbright grants are very selective; this year there were only 12 research grants and about 30 English-teaching assistantships given. The application process is difficult. Martin said she’s grateful for the support she received from BGSU’s International Student Services.
“They were wonderful. They helped me refine my proposal and tailor it. Having their advice and experience was invaluable.”
Martin with neighborhood children who studied English with her after school most days.
Martin said she also received important advice and assistance from Dr. Nancy Patterson in the School of Teaching and Learning, who had been a Fulbright scholar, and MACIE director Dr. Christopher Frey, who had also worked with the Navajo people, as Martin did in her undergraduate program. “We shared the same experience, around 10 years apart,” Martin said.
Patterson, who has worked with Martin on two grant submissions related to Indonesia, said, “Sam is a singular person who is the perfect mix of compassion and initiative. Whenever I work with her, I learn about myself, which is the sign of a true teacher and humanitarian. Most impressive is her command of Bahasa Indonesia, which I have seen her use with fluency and grace on our Skype calls with her good friends at Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang. Sam Martin will continue to elevate BGSU’s reputation in Indonesia, and I relish hearing about her work in years to come.”
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and an important trading partner. Yet, like most U.S. citizens, Martin knew almost nothing of the country until she served there with the Peace Corps. She was part of the first cohort to serve there since 1964 following President Barack Obama’s 2009 re-opening of relations with Indonesia.
The complex culture of the island nation resonated with Martin.
After having personally experienced traditional healing practices both while on Java in the Peace Corps and while she was a student teacher in the Navajo Nation as an undergraduate at Indiana University at Bloomington, Martin became interested in how a person in today’s world becomes a traditional healer, and what their status is in their community. And, in the case of Java, how contemporary Indonesian Islam overlaps with secular Javanese healing arts, and how traditional practices have evolved.
“In rural areas, people may identify as Muslim, but the elements of traditional culture may be a little stronger,” Martin said. “I’d like to know which traditional cultural practices are still being held onto and why. And whether young people are still becoming healers and what their path is toward that.”
“I want to be contributing something, not just taking information from them and leaving”Martin’s master’s thesis is a case study of women healers in south-central Indiana. “The possibilities for a comparative project on healers’ experiences in the U.S. and Indonesia are exciting to me,” she said.
In addition to her research, Martin also will do volunteer teaching in local schools during her Fulbright stay. “I want to be contributing something, not just taking information from them and leaving,” she said. “I like teaching and working with kids.”
Indonesia is a rich mix of all the influences over the centuries from the various traders who came through, bringing with them their religions and cultures. Among them have been Arab, Indian and Chinese traders, Buddhists and Hindus, and 300-plus years of Dutch colonialism. Two typical dishes, meatballs and fried rice, reflect the multicultural background of the country.
“It’s been 65 years since independence from the Dutch and now there are burgeoning markets and a lot of money there, although there are huge income gaps,” Martin said. “The country is also very wealthy in natural resources. Technology is booming, and they’ve effectively skipped over landlines and now everyone communicates by cellphones. They access the Internet daily from their smartphones. Indonesia is quickly becoming globalized and more prominent on the international scene.”
Martin will be based during her 10-month sojourn at her host university, the Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang, and will travel to rural communities to interview from eight to 15 traditional healers and their clients in depth. She expects to draw on her connections in several areas and then, through them, meet others, staying with local families at times.
Getting around on Java is not nearly the challenge it can be in some countries, Martin said. “Java is the most densely populated island in the world and there’s so much public transportation that it’s easy. It’s not the two-hour bike ride to even see anyone that is often associated with Peace Corps service.”
Reflecting on her life so far, she said, “I never thought when I entered the Peace Corps and was assigned to a nation I knew nothing about that Southeast Asian Studies would turn out to be so interesting to me. But MACIE helped give me some direction, and helped me develop my thesis project. That’s what’s so special about MACIE: you have a group of really neat people with such diverse experiences and it’s still small enough to be very intimate.”
Before learning she’d been accepted into the Fulbright program, Martin was accepted by several U.S. universities’ doctoral programs. Her Fulbright experience on Java is sure to enrich and inform her future educational and professional choices.
GLOBAL EDUCATION ON A PERSONAL SCALE
They come from around the globe, from rural areas and cities. Many have never been outside their own countries. And while all teach English, only a few are from countries where English is spoken regularly — making for an interesting variety of accents, dialects and perspectives, noted Dr. Christopher Frey, co-director of the BGSU Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program in the College of Education and Human Development.
The bond of shared experience being forged among the 17 outstanding secondary language arts teachers, who have converged on BGSU for a six-week, intensive learning experience, and their hosts will make it hard to say goodbye, said Zahra Ailane, a high school teacher from Algeria. “I’ve already been wondering about how we’ll do that. We’ve learned a lot from each other,” she said.
Six area schools are also partnering with BGSU to welcome the visitors to observe and teach classes and interact with teachers and students. The international teachers have had home stays with partner-school teachers, BGSU faculty and the Bowling Green and Marion communities, and have visited Chicago, Columbus and Detroit. Their visit will culminate in a post-program debriefing in Washington, D.C.
The University and community will have the opportunity to meet and chat with the group at International Educator Night from 6-8 p.m. this evening (March 3) in the Multi-purpose Room at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Hosting will be the BGSU International Democratic Education Institute (IDEI), the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Northwest Ohio World Affairs Council. Another get-together will be held at Eastwood Junior High School on March 11.
This is the second time BGSU has hosted an International Research and Education Board (IREX) group; last year focused on science and English teachers. This year, BGSU is providing the experience with the overarching theme of “Gender Equity and Gender-inclusive Approaches to Teaching and Learning.” The theme is embedded throughout the series of workshops and seminars, said Dr. Sharon Subreenduth, a School of Teaching and Learning faculty member, co-director of IDEI, and director of the IREX-TEA Program at BGSU.
“We have developed a customized program for our TEA fellows,” she said. “Also, we are the only institution that is offering this specific focus on gender, so we are serving as a pilot for the IREX organization as they will likely utilize this focus for future TEA programs.”
TEA fellows utilize multiple readings and engage in activities as a way to reflect on and analyze their own experiences related to gender dynamics in their classrooms, educational and societal culture in general as well as educational policy and social media.
“Bringing a diverse group of seasoned educators onto campus to interact with faculty and students has been invaluable for us to learn more about what is possible and good about education here and abroad,” said Frey, School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy Studies.
The group has movingly heard from one of the teachers about the duress schools in his country face when confronted by drug gangs demanding extortion money, about the challenges facing both girls and boys in some countries over being able to continue attending school, and the danger of even teaching English in some places, where some see it as an unwanted foreign presence. Or simply about having to teach 60-100 students with few of the materials an American teacher would take for granted.
“And yet they work around obstacles and continue being very good teachers,” Frey said.
There have been overturned assumptions in the other direction, as well. Ailane said she was surprised to learn that not all children in the U.S. have Internet in their homes, as in Algeria they do. But there is greater use of technology in local classrooms here, she said, while it is mainly available to science and math teachers in her school. And though she finds U.S. classrooms to be “much noisier,” the teaching methodology is very similar.
The collaborative TEA Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and administered by IREX, a nongovernmental organization. It is implemented at BGSU by IDEI.
The goal is for the teachers to adapt what they learn here, not only from BGSU but more importantly from each other, and find culturally authentic ways to share and implement when they return to their home countries, Subreenduth said.
The 2014 IREX-TEA Cohort consists of English educators from Yemen, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Senegal, Nigeria, Nepal, Jordan, Iraq, India, Honduras, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Colombia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Algeria.
Bringing it back home: Coverdell Fellows at BGSU
By Kristen Bunner (MACIE)
Bowling Green State University is attracting a new set set of graduate students who have skills in adapting to other cultures, developing and managing projects, dealing with language barriers and leveraging limited resources. These assets to classrooms across BGSU are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have opted to pursue the government's Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. Coverdell offers lifetime eligibility for financial assistance toward education through partnerships with over 70 schools throughout the country, including BGSU.
The University's Fellows program is expanding this fall with the addition of five new programs to the roster, which began over five years ago with the Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural and International Education (MACIE).
The new master's degree offerings are in business administration, Spanish, public administration, food and nutrition, and American culture studies (which is also available in conjunction with graduate certificates or as a doctorate).
Steve Hagerman, 27, of Berkley, Mich., was accepted as the first Fellow this fall, in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Hagerman, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Puerto Armuelles, Panama, from 2010 to 2012, said he was attracted to BGSU for its outstanding scholarship package and the intensive, one-year MBA program.
The hallmark of the Coverdell Program is that Fellows are required to complete internships in underserved American communities, allowing them to bring home, and expand upon, the skills they learned as volunteers. Hagerman said he's looking forward to the internship opportunity as a chance to be productive and make an impact.
"Another attraction of doing the Fellows program at BGSU was in some way a continuance of the Peace Corps experience, as the summer internship will involve working with an underserved community here in the area," he said.
As a community economic/youth development volunteer in Panama, Hagerman worked as a counselor in an urban public high school, focusing on teaching life skills and sexual health education. He also integrated leadership development into athletic activities and English education.
See the full story at: http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/mc/features/2013/10/bringing_it_back_home.html
MACIE students and faculty contribute to IREX-TEA Project at BGSU
Although the languages they speak and the classrooms they use may be vastly different, when you put teachers from around the globe together they all want to focus on one thing-how to become better teachers.
For the past six weeks, 20 teachers from 17 countries have immersed themselves in professional development workshops and American culture. The holistic program has enabled them to learn more about themselves as teachers and the way of life in the United States, but has also presented the BGSU community and several local schools the opportunity to learn about their cultures.
The State Department Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program brings outstanding secondary science and English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers from abroad to the United States to further develop expertise in their subject areas, enhance their teaching skills, and increase their knowledge about the U.S. IREX, who administers the State Department TEA program, is an international nonprofit organization providing thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive lasting change globally.
The core of the BGSU program titled, "Empowering Teacher Leaders for 21st Century Teaching and Learning," focused on the academics and field experience. Because the 20 TEA fellows are experienced educators and viewed as leaders in their communities, social studies education faculty member Dr. Sharon Subreenduth, principal investigator (PI) of the grant, pulled from the strengths of BGSU's master's degree programs in curriculum and teaching as well as classroom technology when conceptualizing the grant proposal.
Cross-curricular interdisciplinary general pedagogy sessions served as the base of the program. Technology classes started midway through before the group dived into content-specific pedagogy, which were accompanied by content-specific technology workshops.
"Our technology sessions move beyond the basics to a more indepth and intensive focus on effective classroom technologies that actively engage students in content development. We actually have content-specific technology workshops that IREX has not seen included before and were pleased with," said Subreenduth.
One of the main goals for TEA fellow Manjula Sivakumar of India was to implement technology in the classroom to handle large groups of students while giving them individual attention. After completing the program, Sivakumar said, "The technology classes helped me learn multiple technology tools to make my teaching-learning environment interesting and provided methods to assess large classes effectively and quickly."
Even though for some it may be difficult to integrate technology in their classrooms when they return home, for Subreenduth, it's important that the teachers now have another avenue of professional development and can incorporate technology into their own planning and preparing in order to be productive in the classroom.
In addition to the pedagogy and technology workshops, the teachers actively participated in inquiry-based discussions and curriculum. They also engaged in multi-disciplinary methods of teaching EFL and science, including hands-on exercises, roundtable discussions and small-work technology seminars.
"We wanted them to examine and develop authentic curriculum materials, because they have to develop and submit at least two lessons before they leave," said Subreenduth. "We also wanted to deepen their beliefs and reflections on teaching through inquiry-based activities."
With these goals in mind, the academics and the field experience are closely connected. "We were hoping that they would make better sense of what they learned while they were here with what they're seeing in the classrooms or even the gaps they're seeing in the U.S. classrooms," Subreenduth said. IREX provided a reflection guide for the TEA fellows to use with their partner teacher, which allows them to reflect on differentiations such as classroom management, assessment or planning.
The field experience was positive for both the TEA fellows as well as local schoolchildren. "I think it was good for my students to see someone of a different culture in the teaching perspective to understand that a lot of our strategies are the same," said Cynthia Blubaugh '03, seventh grade English language arts teacher at Perrysburg Junior High School and partner teacher for Salam Saleh of Jordan.
"A lot of the ways we approach the class are the same even though we are from two very different backgrounds, especially visually when you first see her, dressing differently with the head dress and everything, it was very good for them to understand that we're all human beings. The only difference is that we may believe a few different things or might dress differently or speak a little differently, but basically the principles are the same," added Blubaugh.
Saleh taught two sessions in Blubaugh's classroom - one on Jordan and another on stereotyping. "It was a really cool, hands-on lesson where she talked about how we're alike, how we're different and how people are more alike than different throughout the world," said Blubaugh. "That was a great opportunity for the students."
"Although people are of different races, ethnicities or cultures, they can get along successfully if they focus on their similarities rather than their differences," Saleh said when asked what she will take away from this program.
Birgy Lorenz of Estonia shared a similar reaction to the field experience. "Now I see that children are children and teachers are teachers as mothers are mothers all over the world," she reflected. Despite differences in some methodical approaches, schedules, lesson planning and management, as well as compulsory curricula subjects and how they are implemented in schools, she recognized a lot of similarities.
Experiencing firsthand the "real" student and teacher life in the U.S. was a highlight for
Manjula Sivakumar of India. "I could share lot of things like our culture, school community and parent community, as well as the education system and society with the U.S students, and also had an opportunity to learn theirs," Sivakumar said.
"In addition to the academics and field experiences, the program included significant cultural activities. It's quite holistic," Subreenduth said. When conceptualizing the grant proposal, she thought it was important to have a cross-cultural component that engaged faculty and graduate students from the School of Teaching and Learning as well as the Master of Arts in Cross-cultural and International Education (MACIE) Program.
The teachers were immersed in a variety of activities to get a more authentic sense of American culture. In fact, the TEA fellows became so familiar with current trends in the U.S. that they joined the Harlem Shake phenomenon and created their own video.
Dance seemed to be a favorite interest among the group, given that they also had an impromptu two-hour dance party following a dinner hosted by Dr. Savilla Banister, a classroom technology faculty member. Organized trips and activities were planned by Dr. Christopher Frey, co-PI and MACIE graduate coordinator, and his team of six graduate students. The TEA fellows visited Toledo, Detroit, Columbus and Chicago or New York City, exploring Toledo's Cherry Street Mission and landmarks and attend sporting events.
Local families also hosted the teachers for two weekends. During the homestays, the teachers experienced a wide range of activities from a hockey game to a radio talk show to visiting places of worship and joining in family dinners. "I think for some people who come from cultures where staying or visiting in someone's home is not very common, that might have been a new experience for them … It's good for them to see beyond the public buildings and museums to see how people really live," said Frey.
The teachers seemed to agree with Frey. "The homestays were unique opportunities to experience the American way of living," said Serge Pacome Yao Pre of Cote d'Ivoire. "I noticed that beyond their busy days, Americans have time to care. Thanks to all these wonderful families who didn't only open the doors of their houses, but also the doors of their hearts."
Frey believes that over time, it's the personal relationships that people build across national borders that help to sustain peaceful, friendly relationships between countries.
"So that might seem like a bit of a stretch, but I really do believe it's these kinds of interactions where people can see each other in their everyday lives … they can see that there are a wide range of people in societies around the world," he said.
He explains that the way that the grant is conceptualized some of these teachers may have another 20 years in their career impacting tens or hundreds of thousands of students in the future. "So hopefully if we are able to give them a good experience here and show them some of that complexity of the United States, it doesn't allow for easy 'America is like this' or 'America is not like that.' It will help young people abroad to better understand what the United States is like, and I think the same thing can be said at a smaller level here with the TEA fellows working in the local public schools."
The State Department TEA Program was sponsored by the Bowling Green State University International Democratic Education Institute.
(Posted March 25, 2013 ) Please see pictures and the full story at: http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/mc/features/2013/03/finding_common_ground.html
Peace Corps Coverdell Program expansion approved for BGSU
BOWLING GREEN, O. (January 29, 2013).—Peace Corps and Bowling Green State University are expanding the degree opportunities available through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which provides significant graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers. The expansion gives BGSU one of the largest Coverdell fellows programs in the country.
The new master’s degree offerings at BGSU will be in Business Administration, Food and Nutrition, Public Administration, and Spanish, in addition to a Ph.D. in American culture studies. BGSU’s existing Coverdell Fellows partnership is a Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural and International Education (MACIE).
“The Peace Corps is delighted to have Bowling Green State University as a partner in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program,” Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “This new partnership enables returned Peace Corps volunteers to continue their work in public service through meaningful internships in underserved American communities. Experience overseas and graduate studies position Peace Corps Fellows to launch a career by combining coursework with service.”
For the complete story, please see: http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/mc/news/2013/news126401.html
MACIE Students Recognized at 2011 Graduate Student Awards Ceremony
MACIE students were recognized at the BGSU Graduate Student Senate's 29th Annual Graduate Student Awards Ceremony, held on April 21, 2011. Leslie Pacheco ('11) and Conor Harmon ('12) both received the Outstanding Research Assistant Award in recognition of their contribution to a longitudinal study of adolescent achievement in Fremont, Ohio schools, a project directed by Dr. Margaret Booth. Oluwadamilare Adeyeri ('12) was recognized as one of two Outstanding International Students, and Benjamin MacKenzie received first place in the Colloquium Presentation and Poster Contest. Several MACIE students were also nominated for awards, including Natasha Truong for Outstanding Graduate Student, A'ame Kone for Outstanding Administrative Assistant from the Women's Center. Congratulations to our outstanding students!
BGSU Recognized for Peace Corps Efforts
(16 March 2011, Toledo Free Press)
For the first time, Bowling Green State University has made the Peace Corps list of the nation’s top colleges and universities for producing volunteers. BGSU appears at No. 25 in the Medium Colleges and Universities category with 21 active undergraduate volunteers in 2010. The list also counted down the top large and small colleges and universities, as well as graduate schools. Leadership and Policy Studies Professor Margaret Booth thinks BGSU’s appearance on the list is connected to her Peace Corps Fellow Program.
“I think it has brought notoriety to Peace Corps on campus,” Booth said. “It’s very active on campus. It’s very active in the community.”
Article continues here.
MACIE News Archive:
"MACIE students bring synergy, energy to campus" (8 Feb 2010):
"Peace Corps Fellows to Enrich BGSU Campus Life" (22 Sept 2008)
MACIE is initiated as a Peace Corps Fellows program (2008):
"Peace Corps Fellows to Enrich Campus Life"
"New MACIE degree bridges cultures, 'knowledge gap' for teachers" (30 Oct 2006)