Course - IFE, EDUC 497H
The goal of the International Field Experience Course is to provide pre-service teachers with multiple opportunities to observe and participate in culturally and socially diverse classrooms, to engage in political dialogue regarding education in Germany, and to develop student perceptions through conversations with international peers.
Such experiences are intended to:
- Provide pre-service teachers with a firm framework upon which to develop rich and informed perspectives of education in America in relationship to the world as a global competitor and educational partner.
- Facilitate student reflection regarding the purpose and perspectives of public schooling and establish an understanding of learning assumptions that occur across the two societies (U.S. and Germany).
- Aid students in identifying and discerning differences and commonalities across German educational environments to better reflect on their own personal teaching perspectives and experiences.
To achieve this, students will:
- Observe and participate in German classroom activities in Kindergartens, elementary, middle, and high schools depending upon student choice.
- Meet with political figures for discussions.
- Engage in teaching experiences with seasoned teachers and students.
- Visit Freiburg University to dialogue with international peers regarding teacher preparation, pedagogy, curriculum design, teacher-student relationships, and to facilitate professional networks.
This course consists of three components:
1. Pre-Trip Component:
General background knowledge: in-class and on- line activities (blended model) will provide the student with general background knowledge on the country chosen for travel with consideration to commerce, industry, social, political, and economic constructs relating to education. Through readings, discussions and on-line resources students will examine the notion of global citizenship and internationalization in terms of education. Students from other campuses will participate via video conferencing. (1-4 Credits) Note: This component may be completed without completing components 2 and 3 for 1 credit, or completed with components 2 and 3 [4 credits]).
2. Trip Component: Summer:
Students will travel to pre-determined schools and visit cities that formerly fell within the East and West German borders where the contrasts in political and social influence on education may be obvious. Students will have the opportunity to participate in classroom interactions (e.g., co-teaching, assist teachers to internationalize their classrooms) at chosen grade levels (i.e., Kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school levels) participate in formal meetings with political officials, educators, and school administrators as well as informal meetings with students and University peers. Maintenance of a journal and teaching record are required along with participation in all group activities to represent a Penn State contingency. Note: This component must be completed with components 1 and 3 and no option exists to complete this component in isolation of components 1 and 3.
3. Post-Trip Component:
Debriefing follow-up session. Students will participate in a follow-up session approximately 1 to 2 weeks following return from country of trip to present findings, share impressions, and summarize trip experiences of component 2.