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Ohio is home to more than 197,000 Arab-Americans who have immigrated from Jordan, Egypt and surrounding countries in the Middle East. The population in Lucas County is the third highest in the state behind Cuyahoga and Franklin counties. Despite nearby Arab-American concentrations, teachers in northwest Ohio primary and secondary schools and universities struggle to incorporate Arab cultures and contributions into their curriculum.
The Center for International Comparative Education (ICE) at Bowling Green State University set out on a mission to internationalize the curriculum by collaborating with local and international partners. ICE Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad participants traveled to Jordan for one month and gained an in-depth understanding of citizenship, politics and social dynamics. After the trip participants used their experiences in Jordan to create engaging lesson plans that educate area youth on Jordan’s rich Arab history and culture.
Using her experiences in Jordan, Jill Posta, instructor at Bowling Green State University and secondary school teacher at Maumee Valley Country Day School, created lesson plans for ninth through 12th grade students that can be used in art, geometry or history classes. In her lesson plan, Let’s Make a Mosaic, “… students design and construct an 8 by 10 inch mosaic. Prior lessons introduced the topic of mosaics in Jordan and explained the various methods for assembling a mosaic and the purposes mosaics served in Jordan over the past centuries.”
ICE participant, Erin Danielle Kehm, a student in the Masters of Art in Cross-Cultural and International Education, developed a social studies lesson for first through third grade students called The Sandwich Swap. According to Erin’s lesson, “Students explore the idea that friends don’t have to be exactly alike but can have differences and still be friends. They read the story, ‘The Sandwich Swap’ by Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, and discuss what characteristics a real friend has and how to resolve conflict peacefully.”
The ICE Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad has created more than 32 Jordan-infused lesson plans that educate local students from first grade to university graduate level.
To learn more about the Fulbright-Hays Group Project abroad at BGSU and other ICE initiatives, visit http://ice.bgsu.edu/summary.html.