Here are just a few examples of how our faculty and students touch lives around the world...
Marilyn Kaff, associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, has spent the past few years leading a contingent of faculty and students to Lushoto, Tanzania, to work with special needs children, their teachers and parents. The group spends time at the Irente Complex, which includes an orphanage, the Irente Rainbow School and a school for the blind. Preservice teachers and everyone involved make memories for a lifetime. While there, Kaff also teaches professional development classes to a hand-selected group of teachers.
Rusty Earl, video producer for the college, has created a half-hour documentary about Dr. Kaff's work in Tanzania. The documentary trailer can be seen below. To view the whole documentary, please see Humanity Looks Good on Everyone: Outreach for Autism in Africa.
Five preservice teachers working toward their ESL endorsements spent three weeks in China observing then teaching for two weeks in a high-needs school. “The students come back with a renewed passion for teaching because their passion for teaching reached a new level,” said Socorro Herrera, professor in elementary education and executive director of the Collaborative Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy (CIMA) Center.
The CIMA center hosted 87 teachers from Ecuador who spent the summer at K-State as part of their country’s Go Teacher program. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correra, whose goal is to prepare 3,000 educators to be highly qualified teachers of English and learn the most successful pedagogical practices, heralds the program. This summer’s program was so successful that an agreement has been reached for all 3,000 teachers to be trained through a network of institutions with K-State leading the effort. Another benefit: Many teachers in the first wave of cohorts plan to pursue their master’s degrees through K-State Online.
Please see our Ecuadorean Program highlights video:
The Ethiopian people are so hungry for knowledge when word spread about a K-State professor coming to provide professional development, the instructor’s session was televised on Ethiopian National Television (ENT). Laurie Curtis, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in mid-May for two weeks where she provided expertise in literacy instruction for Ethiopian administrators, teachers and librarians. She also served as the keynote speaker for a three- day professional development conference where participants learned new strategies to engage students in literacy instruction that addressed the challenges of the schools’ limited resources and large classes. The typical Ethiopian class has between 50- 100 students. Curtis’ greatest professional challenge of the trip presented itself on the final day of the conference. That’s when the news crew and children — 45 in one class and 60 in the next — arrived. She demonstrated literacy techniques as conference participants observed and a translator repeated her every word all while being filmed for TV.
About Ethiopia Reads…
In addition to her work in Ethiopia, Laurie Curtis also made her third trip to Grenada this spring, where she met with the Grenada Ministry of Education officials, the permanent secretary and five officers. Curtis provided a professional development session on shared and guided reading for 20 teachers at a rural school. She met with the president of their newly-formed reading association to discuss an electronic teacher collaboration project for K-State’s Reading Specialist graduate students and their practicing teachers (using the Edmodo website).
Fourteen preservice teachers traveled to Guatemala City, Guatemala, from July 6-27 to gain teaching experience for their ESL endorsements. According to faculty member, Griselda MacDonald, CIMA center program manager, the students left with the needed experience and a new worldview. “It was busy, productive days,” she said about teaching both elementary and secondary students and teaching English to the faculty and staff at Apoyate en Mi (Lean on Me) school. “It was a humbling experience to witness this much poverty, but it was balanced by being greeted each morning by children getting off the school bus knowing they were homeless but arrived at school happy and ready to learn.”
Kay Taylor, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, is opening minds and creating learning opportunities for students thanks to a video project she initiated as a result of conversations with Dean Debbie Mercer. “A Walk in My Shoes” is a documentary depicting a glimpse into the lives of international doctoral students and their cultures. Taylor’s committee invited students to participate and students from five countries — Angola, South Korea, India, Saudi Arabia and China — agreed to take part. Their answers to select questions were videotaped and topics included the graduate students’ cultures, educational systems in their home countries, their experiences at K-State and advice for international students planning to come to K-State. “We may be taking on a leadership role here because while there is information for international undergraduates, we couldn’t find much video content dedicated to international graduate students,” Taylor said. “What many Americans may not realize is that these are highly accomplished people who are often here on a strict timeline to complete their graduate studies. Some of them are expected to return to their home countries and begin work in a specific field." Taylor said she hopes this will start a trend where more disciplines will draw on the resources international graduate students bring to K-State.