Media contacts: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu and Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu
LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell is hosting teachers from around the world for an intensive six-week program that includes field experience in local schools and two events for the campus and community.
The Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA) provides international teachers with opportunities to develop expertise in their subject areas, enhance their teaching skills and increase knowledge about the United States.
Twenty-one high school teachers are participating in the program. They hail from Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Estonia, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Mongolia, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The teachers arrived on campus Jan. 27 and depart on March 13.
A.J. Angulo, a professor in UMass Lowell’s Graduate School of Education, received a $205,508 grant from the U.S. State Department to fund the program.
“This exciting global-education program brings a tremendous amount of diversity to our campus and local education community, and provides authentic, transformative and experiential learning,” he said.
While the benefits to the university and local school community are immediate during the six-week program Angulo's long-term goal is to build lasting, meaningful relationships around the world – one teacher at a time.
“The global challenges before us recognize no borders and require international solutions. Whether it is a crisis in public health like Ebola, in the environment or in international politics, isolation is not an option,” said Angulo. “Education is one of our best hopes for organizing the world community to effectively respond to these kinds of challenges.
“Philosopher William James once said that we need ‘a moral equivalent to war,’ that we need to focus our energies on building constructive relationships to prevent war. International education programs like TEA provide a means to build such relationships,” Angulo added, noting that the program provides opportunities to increase awareness of opportunities and needs that exist in other parts of the world. “We learn from them about their way of life and they learn from us about ours.”
The teachers selected for the TEA program represent some of the very best from their home countries, said Angulo. The U.S. Department of State and its partner IREX, which administers the program, vetted all of the participants, who participated in a rigorous yearlong application process before being selected. That process included interviews at U.S. embassies, along with providing evidence of exemplary educational leadership, lesson plans and letters of recommendation. More than 1,100 educators from around the world competed for only 160 TEA Fellow openings in the U.S. this year, including the 21 at UMass Lowell.
"We are all very excited to welcome the TEA Fellows,” said Anita Greenwood, dean of the Graduate School of Education. “Education faculty and K-12 teachers recognize the enormous value of learning from colleagues from other countries and gaining broader cultural understandings."
The teachers will take professional development workshops taught by UMass Lowell faculty, participate in field experience in Andover and Chelmsford school districts, and take cultural excursions in the New England area.
They will also share information about their cultures during two events at UMass Lowell that are open to the public:
- “Education Around the World” on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 10:30 a.m. to noon at O’Leary Library Learning Commons mezzanine, located at 61 Wilder St. on UMass Lowell’s South Campus. At this event, the international teachers will each have a table displaying items from their home country and will discuss the educational system there.
- “Global Perspectives on Gender and Education” on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at O’Leary Library Learning Commons, Room 222. At this program, the international teachers will discuss how issues of gender and equity are addressed in classrooms in their nations.
Through the field experience, each international teacher will be paired with a local schoolteacher in order to collaborate and exchange best teaching practices. When not in classes at UMass Lowell or in local schools, the international teachers will participate in additional cultural exchange activities.
The field experience component of the TEA program is designed to establish lasting professional relationships between our local teachers and their counterparts from around the world through sharing best practices in education and building cultural understanding by learning from each other, according to Angulo. This provides our local partner teachers with an opportunity to participate in the international education community without leaving home and makes them eligible to apply for State Department programs through which they can also go abroad.
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 17,750 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu