Short-Term Overseas Student Teaching Program Provides Unique Experience
By David Price (December 2009)
The College of Education is offering an enriching new student teaching experience that creates the opportunity for students to divide their student teaching between here and abroad. The Short-Term Overseas Student Teaching program allows College of Education teacher education students to travel overseas for seven or eight weeks after a shortened ten-week Pennsylvania student teaching placement. Students can choose from a diverse array of 15 participating countries, including Wales, Japan, Kenya, and Ecuador.
"The experience will broaden our students’ perspectives of the world and make them better job candidates," says Leila Bradaschia, director of international programs, which coordinates the program. "School principals are looking at students who have diverse experience, and they want to know that their incoming teachers know what's going on in local schools, and many value the rich experience that student teaching abroad brings to the classroom."
The program, in partnership with the Foundation for International Education, provides students with unique intercultural teaching and community experiences, giving them a broader understanding of the world in which we live. The in-depth exposure to other ways of life and schooling facilitates professional growth through acquisition of new and different teaching methods, ideas, and philosophies.
"The impact that these experiences will have on the students will produce a ripple effect on each of their classrooms. Many of them will be traveling abroad for the first time, and they'll be sharing the excitement and knowledge of what they learn overseas with the students in their own classrooms," Bradaschia adds.
Students prepare for their experiences prior to their teaching semester in a one-credit seminar in which they learn more about their host nation, its education system, and cross-cultural living, then they are placed in public schools in their host nations as student teachers where they interact with teachers, administrators, children, and community members. Students complete assignments for both the seminar and while they are teaching overseas to encourage learning and reflection on the experience.
The first cohort of twenty-four students heads to their host countries in the fall semester of 2010. Overall, some eighty College of Education students are interested in the Short-Term Overseas Student Teaching program during the 2010–11 academic year. For more information about the program, contact Dr. Leila Bradaschia, director of international programs, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I wish all of our students could consider this as an option," Bradaschia concludes. "And I hope that with greater awareness of how important this is for our students that scholarships will be developed, and more and more students can benefit from these experiences."