One of the best ways to inspire global learning is to go abroad yourself! While it seems like international escapades automatically transform a teacher into a global educator, it’s important to learn strategies for bringing your experiences back to your students back home. Likewise, learn ways to celebrate and encourage experiences close to home when international travel isn’t feasible for financial or logistical reasons.
Resources for Teachers to Get Abroad:
Tips for Traveling Teachers
- Get advice: There are lots of other teachers who have traveled and incorporated their experiences into the classroom. In particular, I recommend checking out TeachingTraveling.com for inspiration.
- Pre-trip planning: Before you leave, look through your curriculum and look for entry points where there might be a way to connect your travel to your students’ areas of study.
- Focus on essential questions: I’ve traveled a lot in the past with no particular aim or purpose. It is much better to travel with essential questions that help you to focus your experience. As an example, you can read about my experience writing essential questions for my visit to Ukraine.
- Be safe: Make sure to do your research before you go. The U.S. State Department’s website has lots of tips on individual countries, and students will love giving you tips and helping you research. Don’t forget your vaccinations and consider visiting a travel clinic to ensure that you know all the medical concerns about your destination country.
- Blog: It used to be that being out of the country meant being out of touch. Today, blogging or emailing trip reports is an amazing way for students to follow along on your experience and imagine that they are there along with you!
- Consider video: Webcams are very easy to set up these days, depending on your time differences. YouTube and other video sites are also fantastic ways to share video while you are away, or upon your return.
- Collect photos and other artifacts: Students love to see photographs and real live “stuff” from other countries — you’d be surprised at what kinds of conversations can be sparked with candy wrappers, take out menus, train tickets, and more.
- Be creative: Even if your students aren’t studying Africa, animal photos from a safari could relate to a lesson on different types of families or models of effective communication. Photos of Italian art could be incorporated into a lesson on symmetry in math. Find entry points that are different and unique, utilizing your travel resources to inspire while accomplishing other goals at the same time.
- Post-trip analysis: After you get back, look through your photographs and assess which ones might be able to fit into presentations related to your students’ studies.
Tips for Homebody Teachers (Get global without expensive airfare!)
- Reinvent the field trip: Find ways to get outside as much as possible. Maybe you’ve never seen them, but there are lots of global resources all around us. There are ethnic restaurants, houses of worship, cultural centers and more.
- Locate local experts: There are millions of people living in the United States from other countries around the world. Get their help to include various perspectives into your teaching.
- Use technology: See the Get Connected section. There are lots of ways to do “virtual” travel without actually going anywhere.
- Use imagination: Students love to use their imaginations to pretend to visit different places. It’s a great way to practice perspective taking as well.
Go on to STEP 5: Get Support.
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