Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Education is a Global Enterprise

I've always thought a teaching degree is like a professional passport. Virtually every country in the world has teachers which is not true of all occupations. Many St. Mike's students study abroad through the one of the many study abroad opportunities offered at the college such as ASE while some graduates take an even bigger international plunge.

I stay in touch with many of my graduates through email and Facebook and it's always of great interest to hear how they are doing especially if they teaching abroad. I've been corresponding with Julie, an SMC graduate of a few years ago who has been teaching in China. She has shared many of her experiences with me such as teaching classes with as many as 75 students at a time. She has also shared the incredible work ethic that most of her students have as well as the pressure they are under to get into a good university when they are in high school.

I learned many years ago that it is a difficult to compare education systems in different countries without taking into account the incredible cultural differences that exist between countries. Math Education, for example, is significantly different in different parts of the world; even the math is different. In some countries girls and boys are educated in separate schools while in others girls may receive very little formal education. In some countries children with special needs are still educated in separate schools while in other countries children are treated as children and not miniature adults.

Understanding the education systems that the children of immigrants, or "newcomers", have experienced before coming to the US is an important part of their integration into US schools and classrooms. To help SMC undergraduate education majors do this we have them interview international students on campus so they begin to see how different Education can be in different parts of the world.

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