Apr 05, 2018
During their first week of the program "Diversity in U.S. Education", the 15 participants – teachers at primary and secondary schools from all over Germany – received a comprehensive introduction into the American school system with specific focus on diversity in the classroom. Hosted by the University of Connecticut in Storrs and their Neag School of Education, participants attended seminars on campus, visited local museums and immersed in U.S. culture.
Touching on a wide range of topics, such as human rights education, language acquisition or cultural learning, all activities aimed to enhance a more multi-faceted understanding of diversity and its potential in education.
During one seminar for instance, the teachers were put in the roles of students and were successfully taught a whole class on a mechanical topic in Spanish – despite not speaking any Spanish. Experiencing this challenging learning situation for themselves, teachers realized that it is not necessary to reduce the contents of the class, but to provide an enriched learning environment for those students struggling with the language, such as including pictures or detailed explanations.
In general, it became very evident that cultural learning does not involve solely gathering knowledge about the other, but rather urges everyone to rethink one’s own cultural upbringing and therefore learn about oneself.
Becoming aware of these different aspects establishes a profound basis for all school visits following during the second week of the program.