This summer, Buffalo State students are taking student teaching one step further and hundreds of miles farther. Three unique international trips allow students to share their teaching abilities in Africa, South America, or Southeast Asia.
In late May and early June, the Elementary Education and Reading Department and the Professional Development School Consortium sent students to Zambia and Chile, and in July, art education graduate students will travel to Thailand for global teaching initiatives.
"Enabling Buffalo State students to meaningfully experience other cultures is a fundamental cornerstone of the university’s mission,” said President Podolefsky in his December 2011 President’s Letter. “Through these immersive transcultural initiatives, participating students will expand their teaching repertoire while simultaneously gaining invaluable cultural insights that will strengthen their overall classroom effectiveness."
In May a group of students traveled to Lusaka, Zambia, for a three-week educational and cultural exchange lead by Hibajene M. Shandomo, associate professor of elementary education and reading. While there, the mix of undergraduate and graduate students observed the Zambian education system and teaching practices at an international professional development school. The students applied their own teaching methods in math, science, and social studies to classrooms of 40 to 60 Zambian children. While in Zambia, the Buffalo State students lived at the Commonwealth Youth Program Center for Africa. Aside from the teaching experience, their trip also included opportunities to soak up the Zambian culture, including a weekend excursion to Victoria Falls.
For three weeks in June, students honed their teaching and Spanish language skills in Santiago, Chile. Under the direction of Pixita Del Prado Hill, associate professor of elementary education and reading, the students participated in an intensive Spanish language program, shadowed teachers in the English pedagogy program at Universidad Mayor, and volunteered teaching English in elementary schools in the Chilean capital. The Buffalo State students and faculty stayed with Chilean host families. During their free time, students were able to explore Santiago and neighboring cities, visit wineries, artisan communities, and natural hot springs.
In July, Alice Pennisi, assistant professor of art education, will take a group of art education graduate students to Bangkok, Thailand, for their international teaching and learning experience. Students will be immersed in Thai culture with a focus on the contemporary and ancient art of the country. The beginning of their trip will afford students the opportunity to teach art in a Bangkok high school. Also on the agenda are visits to museums and galleries, temples, schools, and sites of historical significance.
Prior to Zambia and Chile, students worked with English language learners at the Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy in Buffalo. In preparation for Thailand, students took a cultural ethics course. Each student is able to receive academic credit for their overseas experience.
Each year, Buffalo State provides students with access to hundreds of international programs sponsored internally and by other SUNY institutions.