George School Science Teacher, Bob Fest participated in the annual Global Teaching Dialogue Conference sponsored by the US Department of State. Bob joined other teachers and global education experts to share best practices for globalizing curricula, implementing virtual exchanges, and learning from and sharing educational strategies with colleagues in other countries. The conference included a range of virtual workshops including Differentiation in the Culturally Responsive Classroom, Empowering Learners with Community-Based STEM Projects, and Best Practices in Educational Technology: Recent Lessons.
Empowering Learners with Community-Based STEM Projects was specific to Bob’s area of expertise. He was an active participant in the Q&A part of the workshop and asked questions about the best pedagogical practices for student involvement in community-based STEM projects.
“This workshop really got me thinking of ways in which I can fully immerse my students in ecological work that both aligns with the curriculum and addresses a local community issue while having students working simultaneously on a similar issue with their peers from another part of the world,” said Bob. “As a teacher who is already globally minded in thought and practice, this workshop inspired me to take it up a notch.”
In the Justice-Centered Science Education workshop, Bob and other participants discussed how to move beyond the practice of science as it has historically been taught based on findings by a select group of privileged individuals who were made up of mostly white males. Justice-centered science education aims to include scientific findings by those who have been disenfranchised by science and society. It also tries to view how certain topics affect different groups of people. For example, climate change is caused by wealthier people, but most greatly affects poorer individuals.
Not all of the workshops were STEM-specific. Another focus was how to connect students in the US with their international peers in general. Bob said that “This conference exposed me to many more paths to international educational collaboration then I thought existed already and allowed me to grow my global network of teacher partners.”