Where and what do you teach?
I teach French, grades 6-8 in the Monona Grove School District
How have you been involved with WIOCs programming (list particulars)?
I first got involved with WIOC my first year of teaching, in 2000. I contacted the African Studies Program to get resources on teaching about francophone Africa. They provided me with many useful print materials and ideas for incorporating Africa-content into my curriculum.
During the summer of 2001, I participated in the UW-Madison ASP-sponsored Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad to Benin, West Africa with 15 other French teachers from the mid-west. We developed video-based curriculum units to teach about francophone Africa to students of French at the secondary through post secondary levels. Members of the GPA team presented at the state world language teachers conference and the resources were shared with teachers across the United States via DVD distribution and the Outreach World website.
My work on the project inspired me to learn more about video editing and pursue my masters in curriculum and educational technology. During my yearlong sabbatical, I completed the coursework for my degree, focusing on East Africa through a Fulbright language study award and ultimately completing a life history research project in Rwanda.
During this time I worked as the African Studies Program Outreach assistant. I also helped to plan a UW Madison ASP sponsored Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad to Rwanda for social studies teachers grades 6-12.)
In 2009, I participated in the GPA to Rwanda and assisted in the video editing process upon our return. I helped to share the work done through the GPA to Rwanda at the state social studies teachers’ convention and at the African Studies Association annual meeting in 2010.
I have also benefited from other WIOC outreach opportunities such as the Children in Conflict seminar and guest speakers through the ASP Outreach Scholars program.
What was the impact of these programs for you and or your students?
Where would I be without this programming? It has made a distinguishing mark on me as a teacher, as a professional and has impacted hundreds of students over the years as I continue to incorporate the study of francophone Africa in my level one French classes.
Why would you recommend WIOC programs to colleagues?
It has shaped how I approach the content of my teaching. WIOC and the ASP in particular has helped me to infuse my curriculum with a broader range of perspectives and voices than a traditional French classroom. I use the video and other resources developed through the GPA’s to help students ‘experience’ different cultures. Having good resources and knowledgeable outreach staff available through ASP has made it possible for me to take the first needed steps to develop a curriculum that provides deeper learning experiences for students.
The experiences that I have had through the GPA’s, working together with other teachers on curriculum development, has challenged me to grow as an educator. These experiences have revitalized my work in the classroom and strengthened my desire to keep teaching.
Why is internationalizing your classroom important to you?
An internationalized curriculum impacts students in transforming ways. As learners take on new ways of viewing the world, as they begin to identify with people in other places, they begin to care about the world and realize their place in it.
Submitted: January 2014
Posted: May 2014