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Appalachian receives $183,000 grant to train international science and English teachers

BOONE—Appalachian State University has received a $183,000 Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program grant to implement a training program designed to enhance the capacity of 20 teachers representing 17 countries to teach science and English. The program will run from Sept. 19 through Nov. 3.

The TEA Fellows will come from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, India, Jordan, Mali, Nicaragua, Niger, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Zambia. While at Appalachian, they will develop their expertise in teaching science and English as a foreign language for high school students, enhance their teaching skills, and increase their knowledge of the United States.

This is the fourth time Appalachian has received this grant, which is awarded through a competitive process administered by IREX and the U.S. Department of State. Other universities awarded a TEA program grant for 2014 are California State University, Chico; Claremont University; Colorado State University; University of Central Florida; University of Nevada, Reno; University of North Dakota; University of Northern Colorado; and Utah State University.

The program will be directed by Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor for international education and development at Appalachian. He will work with Dr. Beverly Moser, Dr. Linda McCalister, John Spagnolo, Marty McCormick and Kelley Wolcott, also from Appalachian. The project will involve a multidisciplinary team of more than 25 faculty members drawn from the University Library, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Department of Leadership and Educational Studies, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Department of English, Department of Biology, Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Chemistry. Four graduate students in the Reich College of Education will assist with program implementation.

TEA Fellows will work with faculty on teaching methodologies, lesson planning, teaching strategies for their home environment and teacher leadership, as well as integrating technology in their teaching.

Each TEA Fellow will be paired with one teacher in the local schools for a team-teaching experience. The teachers are from Caldwell Early College, Hibriten High School, East Burke High School, West Wilkes High School and Watauga High School.

“We are pleased that Appalachian has asked us to participate in this program again. Not only does this program get at the heart of our school’s Global 21st Century Goals, but teachers will benefit from being exposed to teaching methodologies outside of their own, students will benefit from a new appreciation of student life from outside our country, and TEA teachers will develop awareness for challenges faced in our public schools,” said Phil Smith, principal of East Burke High School.

“Successful teachers must be willing to collaborate with other teachers in their buildings, their communities and the wider world,” said Kelly White, an English teacher at Hibriten High School who was selected to be a partner teacher. “I am really excited to be opening my classroom up to the world. Hosting a TEA Fellow is going to be an enriching experience for my students, my school community and for me. As our society becomes more global, it is essential that our schoolhouses do the same.”

While on campus, TEA Fellows will visit several classes and serve as guest speakers.

A Reich College of Education Teaching Fellow who interacted with TEA Fellows from the 2013 program said, “This seminar gave me a much better idea of what education can look like around the world. In talking with these teachers and reflecting on the experience at the end of the seminar, I learned how common the struggles in education are. It is refreshing to see the shared passion for teaching and helping future generations that teachers have. Giving students better lives through educating them and opening doors for their futures is something that is even more affirmed for me on my journey to become a teacher.”

“The TEA Program helps us to bring the world to Appalachian,” said Lutabingwa. “It is very rare to have teachers from 17 different countries come to our campus all at once. We plan to utilize them maximally to benefit our campus. In many ways, the TEA Program supports some of our QEP goals.” Appalachian’s five-year Quality Enhancement Plan focuses on expanding global learning opportunities for students, both abroad and on campus.

While in North Carolina, the TEA Fellows will visit historical and cultural sites. They also will spend two weekends with host families to experience life in an American home.

“I’m a little scared because everything is like a dream to me,” said Paula Varga, a TEA Fellow from Chile who will be traveling to the U.S. for the first time. “This is a unique opportunity to learn and know different things.”

The TEA program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and administered by the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) based in Washington, D.C.

For more information, contact Lutabingwa in the Office of International Education and Development at 828-262-2046 or