Apr 09, 2018
During the second week, the schedule of the Fulbright program "Diversity in U.S. Education" was marked by site visits of various schools in Connecticut. The participants - 15 teachers from primary and secondary schools in Germany - had the occasion to observe the implementation of the educational approaches that had been introduced beforehand.
The group of Fulbrighters visited schools which varied significantly regarding students’ age, diversity, the schools’ funding and structure. They were able to experience a large variety in educational approaches, ranging from student centered, self-organized learning to a school with a strong bilingual focus creating an encouraging and supportive learning atmosphere.
At Windham High School for example, a caring welcoming culture marks the work with newly arrived students from mostly Spanish speaking countries: Besides the support students receive in well-structured ESOL courses (English for Speakers of Other Languages), which enable them to acquire the language at their own pace, a school psychologist takes care of traumatized students. Moreover, in the comprehensive program students have access to academic counseling as well as college preparation courses in which they can also gain credits.
At the end of the program, Fulbrighters participated in workshops on support of learning communities as well as music education. Furthermore, they evaluated the experience gained during the school visits with reference to the culturally responsive approach that had been discussed throughout the program. The debriefing conveyed that the diverse program had enhanced their own intercultural awareness and encouraged the participating group of teachers from Germany to test new educational approaches when back in Germany in order to achieve the common goal of setting conditions in which students from all kinds of backgrounds can learn more successfully.