CEHD students work with children in an elementary classroom in Oslo, Norway

CEHD Spring Break Abroad 2016

What can students and faculty in the U.S. learn from educational systems in other countries?

A great deal, as it turns out.

College of Education and Human Development students and faculty recently traveled to Norway and Italy during Georgia State University’s Spring Break, where they explored different cultures, visited local schools and considered how they could apply what they learned to their coursework and future careers as educators.

Exploring the Impact of Historical and Cultural Contexts and Their Impact on the Italian Educational System

Clinical Instructor Carla Tanguay and Associate Professor John Kesner led a group of students to Turin, Italy, where students not only learned about the Italian educational system and how they maintain their rich cultural traditions, but also explored the role of education in the country’s social system.

Participants on this trip interacted with local students in their element – eating lunch with them, playing their games and sitting in on their classes – and observed teachers as they created a thoughtful learning environment for their students.

Nehemie Villarceau, a first grade teacher working toward a master’s degree in early childhood education, summed up one of the key takeaways from the trip in two words: Slow down.

“In the American school system, teachers are on strict time constraints that sometimes force teachers to rush material,” she said. “In Italy, the teachers take their time teaching the students and do not move on to a new concept until all of the students are ready.”

Norway: Education and Social Issues

Associate Professors Gary Bingham and Kyong-Ah Kwon led a trip to Oslo, Norway, where students studied the political, social and educational systems behind Norwegian children and youth’s strong performance on international standardized assessments.

As part of this trip, participants engaged in key experiences with the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, including lectures, school visits and training on teacher quality and evaluation tools.

In addition, a portion of this trip included participating in a grant project with Norwegian early childhood teachers to find ways that mentor teachers can use teacher quality assessments to assist pre-service teachers in improving their practices.

“We focused on assessing quality practices and building strong university and cooperating teacher partnerships. We also explored cultural and societal values and programs for children and families,” Bingham said. “I am humbled by the generosity and collaborative spirit of the faculty and teachers. They welcome us into their classrooms and professional lives.”

To learn more about the college’s international activities, visit http://education.gsu.edu/academics/office-of-international-programs.