The IUP community is invited to engage with IUP’s 18 Fulbright Distinguished International teachers Monday and Tuesday (May 6 and May 7) from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in room 138, Stouffer Hall.
The educators, who are from Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Botswana, Uganda, Singapore, and Indonesia, are in the United States through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program for International Teachers. Michele Petrucci, associate vice president for international education and global engagement, Office of International Education, and Lara Luetkehans, dean, College of Education and Communications, are co-principal investigators of the $205,000 grant.
As part of their Fulbright Distinguished Award selection, the visiting educators are required to complete an individual or group project relevant to their education practice, which is what they will be sharing Monday and Tuesday. This year’s class will be presenting on topics touching on creativity in schools and formative assessment.
IUP is one of only three universities in the nation chosen as a host institution for the program, which is sponsored by the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). The intent is to bring international primary and secondary teachers to the United States to pursue individual or group projects; take courses for professional development; observe and share their expertise with US colleagues; and take back what they’ve learned and share it in their home countries.
As part of the program, the visiting teachers spent time at schools in Indiana County and at Pittsburgh Public School District’s Brashear High School interacting with students, sharing about their unique cultures, and co-teaching with their high school partners, as well as observing aspects of education in the United States. The teachers will present a Cultural Fair on May 8 at Brashear High School.
During their time in Indiana schools, the educators preformed morning announcements in their native languages at an elementary school, shared a few of their home country’s culinary dishes, and toured Indiana County Technology Center, where they learned how American students are trained for the workforce.
While at East Pike Elementary School in Indiana, the Fulbright teachers visited Jason Stubbe’s first grade classroom. “My students were enthralled by hearing foreign languages on East Pike Television (the closed-circuit television system),” Stubbe said. “It was a cool experience for the whole school. One of the teachers even sang the national anthem from her home country of Uganda.”
Luetkehans pointed out that the experience is a win for the visiting educators, the IUP community, and the host teachers and students.
“Their time here is enriching for all involved,” said Luetkehans. “After more than five months in the states, their visit has created lasting relationships. American teachers learn just as much as the Fulbright educators learn in classrooms. We gain so much by being a part of this professional learning community that each year strengthens our global view of K-12 education and teacher professional development.” The Fulbright teachers leave the western Pennsylvania region May 14 for Washington, DC and then depart for their home countries.
IUP has a strong history of leadership in educational partnerships, including international educational programming. For the past three years, IUP was part of the International Leaders in Education Program program, hosting 16 international secondary teachers (Fellows) from nine countries for an immersive professional development experience. IUP has received a total of $555,000 in grant funding for this program over the past three years. The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program for International Teachers replaced the ILEP program.