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Teachers Without Borders brings the world to campus

FLC's Teachers Without Borders in Mexico
FLC's Teachers Without Borders in Mexico

DURANGO - Today the whole world is a classroom, thanks to web-based information and internet-woven connections. Also, though, thanks to the very real in-person sharing and collaboration that happens when people turn those online connections into exchanges and visits.

Forging those connections -- both virtually and tangibly -- for educators is the mission of Teachers Without Borders, an international organization that brings together teachers from around the world to share ideas and work together on research and curricula. The program is also a vehicle for teachers-in-training to get professional experience through world-wide online internships and on-the-ground exchange and volunteer programs.

That wide world now also includes Fort Lewis College, thanks to Teachers Without Borders On Campus, a registered student organization founded in 2010 -- and the only on-campus chapter of TWB in the country.

"Through the club I have gotten to learn about a variety of teaching techniques and how the education system works throughout the world," says club president Erin Thompson, a senior Interdisciplinary Studies major with a Teacher Education option from, Telluride, Colorado. "With my eyes opened to all of these teaching possibilities, TWB has taught me to expand and to be a world-wide educator no matter where I am."

The club hosts monthly guest speakers, events, and film screenings on current local, national, and international educational topics. The events and the club are not limited to educators or Teacher Education majors, though, stresses faculty advisor Cathie Turek.

"The purpose is to support teachers and education. Education is becoming global, and this prepares our students to compete in a global economy," says Turek, a Visiting Instructor in the Teacher Education Department. "But we don't limit to just teachers. We're open to anyone who has an interest in education and international issues. If we want to have a peaceful, sustainable world, it starts with us all learning about each other, and understanding each other, and TWB is a good vehicle for that."

True to its "Teachers Without Borders" name, one of the club's first acts was putting together a trip to tour schools in Mexico. In March 2011, Turek and four students observed in eight schools in Bahia de Kino and Hermosillo, Sonora, ranging from preschool to university.

There, students learned first-hand about teaching methods and materials, teacher-student relationships, school and classroom structure, and Mexican culture and language. Following the Mexico trip, the students shared what they learned with other FLC students, making presentations about their experiences to several Teacher Education classes.

"Going to Mexico was a truly amazing experience," says Thompson. "The education system was fascinating, the schools were each a whole new world, and the sights that we got to see were just amazing. That week that TWB had in Mexico was life changing."

Learn more:

FLC Teachers Without Borders on Campus

Teachers Without Border International

Teachers Without Borders story about FLC's chapter

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