International collaboration connects Argentinian, local educators

December 20, 2017
The cohort of Argentinian educators and MSU scholars gathers for a photo outside of Erickson Hall.

The cohort of Argentinian educators and MSU scholars gathers for a photo outside of Erickson Hall.

Michigan State University welcomed 25 educators and administrators from Argentina as part of an international professional development collaboration in October.

The College of Education was one of six institutions across the U.S. awarded funding for the Argentina Educators Training Program (AETP), which welcomed a cohort to engage in a series of seminars, mentoring and civic engagement.

Among the opportunities was an immersive in-classroom collaboration with the Lansing School District and Waverly High School, where the Argentinian guests were able to learn from local educators. The three-week program also included visits to schools in and around Detroit and Grand Rapids.

“We are excited about the ways the U.S. and Argentinian practitioners and our colleagues in the college and community were able to come together,” said Lynn Paine, assistant dean of international studies in the MSU College of Education. She was one of the lead coordinators on the project, which ran from Oct. 1-21, 2017.

“We are all working on important challenges to improve learning for our students, find ways to overcome longstanding and new barriers to success and support transformative possibilities,” Paine added.

Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul, M.A. ’77 (Elementary Education), speaks to the Argentinian representatives during a visit to a local school.

In total, the cohort participated in 40 hours of seminars with faculty from the College of Education, and 60 hours of shadowing a “mentor” teacher, principal or administrator in a local school district. During their on-site school visits, the cohort was introduced to new approaches to educational technology, school leadership and management, global education, curriculum and opportunities to engage with students.

The educators also visited MSU’s CREATE for STEM Institute, where they got to participate in a project-based learning lesson plan. The group came together to discuss how they believed the environment impacted wildlife inhabitation by drawing pictures and diagrams. Once they completed this task, they shared with the rest of the group and talked through their ideas in a manner similar to classrooms that utilize this relatively new way of teaching. Through this experience, the group was able to discuss and learn more about education, curricula, and school management.

In addition, both the local and international participants enjoyed cultural and civic engagement across the state of Michigan.

Longtime benefits

The unique and ambitious collaboration was one that was beneficial to all.

Argentinian educators laugh during a presentation on a school visit to the Lansing School District.

At the end of the program, the cohort from Argentina developed action plans to enact change in their classrooms and lessons. Scholars at MSU and leaders in the Lansing School District agreed it expanded their world-views, and hope that the partnership will continue through further international opportunities and teacher-to-teacher collaborations.

“This was a project that drew on rich partnerships within MSU and between MSU and various communities in ways that, we hope, can engender even more partnership and collaborative learning and engagement,” Paine said.

This international opportunity was created by the Fulbright Commission of Argentina, the American Councils for International Education and the Argentina Ministry of Education. In addition, the experience was benefitted by partnerships from the Linking All Types of Teachers to International Cross-Cultural Education (LATTICE) community, the MSU Child Development Laboratories and the MSU Center for Latin and Caribbean Studies.

Related stories

This is not the first time MSU has welcomed international educators. In 2015-16, two cohorts of Indonesian educators and officials came to MSU to deeply examine teacher preparation in the U.S.

Updated 1/16/18: Information regarding a visit to the CREATE for STEM Institute added.