Teacher Exchange Programs
Teacher exchange programs serve as a cultural learning experience for teachers and for expanding and enriching an educator’s pedagogical expertise. These programs have been in existence for the last one century and with the increase in global awareness of the world’s citizens, teacher exchange programs are increasing in number and participation.
Further, with the increased connectivity of the world these exchanges are becoming more popular with time and changing the role, benefits and simplicity in finding and participating in such programs these days.
Teachers, administrators and other stake holders can easily find exchange programs that suit their background, through websites of various organizations of different countries of the world. Majority of teaching exchange programs are meant for qualified and experienced teachers, though there are also a few opportunities open to eligible pre-school teachers and university lecturers.
For an international teacher from countries other than the developed countries like US, Canada, UK and Australia, there are not many teacher exchange programs. However, there are many excellent teaching exchange programs worth considering a teacher may be eligible for in the US and other countries provided a teacher meets the criteria such as proper qualification, experience, good reputation as a teacher with leadership, communication skills etc.
Teacher exchange programs, including summer teacher exchange programs, are highly recommended since they are mainly administered by government organizations and departments of education and several of these programs are highly competitive and selective. After returning from an exchange program, teacher may find in running for better positions including curriculum development.
Through such programs a teacher gets to learn how teachers teach and students learn in other locations across the globe. A teacher can teach abroad for as little as two weeks to as long as a full academic year or during summer vacations, known as summer teacher exchange program.
Faculty exchange programs create cultural understanding and allow faculty members to participate in internationalization of their own campuses through fundamental changes in their teaching and research, which mostly depends on faculty interest, involvement, and commitment to incorporating international substance into their courses establishing new programs with an international approach.
For some teachers tired of the routine at their home schools, an international teacher exchange is just what they need to get motivated and back on track. At the end of the program, teachers return to their schools and share what they’ve learned with their colleagues and classrooms making it an internationalization of education program.
A few recommended teacher exchange programs
Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program: Sponsored by the US Department of State, is a combo of a teacher exchange and study abroad experience where US teachers work abroad and international teachers work in the US.
J-1 Teacher Exchange Program: This program is perfect for non-US citizens with teaching experience who want to learn about and teach abroad in US classrooms for up to 3 years.
International Teacher Exchange Services (ITES): ITES sponsors international educators to teach abroad in US schools and share their teaching tips and home culture.
Canadian Education Exchange Foundation (CEEF): This program allows Canadian teachers to exchange their teaching positions with educators in another country or Canadian province.
Commonwealth Teacher Exchange Program (CTEP): This program allows UK professionals to work abroad in Commonwealth countries and for non-UK teachers to work in the UK.
Independent Education Union of Australia (IEU): This program is for an Australian teacher and a member of IEU, eligible for its teaching exchange programs in countries like the UK and Canada.
If selected for any of these programs, it’s usually a feather in the cap of teacher’s teaching career and can help progress speedily to more senior positions since many of these programs require substantial teaching experience, recommendations from superiors, and a proven track record of excellence as a teacher. If a teacher chooses to accept teacher exchange programs as a mission, including summer teacher exchange programs, are well worth the effort.
Teacher Training Workshops and Professional Development
Teachers are responsible for providing an opportunity for development and growth to the students and are the nurturers of our education system. Competence and professionalism of a teacher play a vital role in the success of student learning. For getting educational excellence by teachers they need to be provided with top-quality training in teaching so that their learning outcomes are good. When these teachers are provided with relevant opportunities for self-growth a positive influence in the performance of students is observed.
The basics of any teacher training workshop are to do Need Analysis which is the process of identifying the needs to train teachers such as their existing knowledge and skill sets, and the subjects that teachers need to be trained.
Need Analysis is the starting point of any teacher training workshop which include different methods of imparting knowledge to students because there cannot be any single method to teach the subject or any topic since many successful teachers use different methods to teach the same subject. Further the teachers need to be creative and subject matter expert and focus on many points like designing and scheduling proper lesson plans, chalking out evaluation parameters, time management etc.
Teacher need to maintain positive relationship with audience who come from different backgrounds and it becomes necessary to avoid any conversation that might lead to controversy or discomfort.
Taking all the above points into consideration, teacher training workshops are essential for the development of the teachers and have a direct positive impact on the students.
Teacher training programs are the motivational tool for the professional development (PD) of the teachers and training sessions are essential to help the teachers learn and create new teaching strategies, which will help teachers bring back the interest of students and encourage learning. Virtual professional development (PD) supports educators with the help of virtual tools for video conferencing, live sessions, and online courses. The idea of virtual PD is becoming a reality for many teachers these days because video conferencing is fairly easy to set up and can bring in guest speakers or PD facilitators without travel costs. Teachers might also join from home or watch a recording of the event. Virtual PD is an exciting area to explore since this new technology can connect educators and experts from across the world quick and easy.
PD courses expand skill sets of a teacher resulting in success in his/her teaching profession. By participating in PD courses a teacher is exposed to new ideas and perspectives, increase expertise in the field, build self-confidence and provide necessary sources needed to achieve goals in an efficient way. Whether it is a workshop, a conference, or a meeting, all new teachers should take part in some form of professional development to setting themselves up for success.
Supporting teachers in their professional development leads to improved outcomes for learners. Good quality professional development and reflective practice are essential parts of a teacher’s professional life. A number of different professional development opportunities, offline and online, for teachers are available according to their experience and needs. Their approach to professional development supports teachers to become confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged.