AFS helps schools around the world develop effective intercultural initiatives
by Eva Vitkova, Educator Relations & Strategy Specialist, AFS Intercultural Programs
In this article you will find out how AFS works with schools and educators to promote and advocate for global education.
Over the past few years, AFS has actively worked with schools and education ministries to expand their intercultural learning and better address diversity in the classroom. This includes:
- Intercultural learning workshops for students
- Intercultural competence trainings for teachers and school administrators
- Educator conferences
- Class exchange programs
- Teacher exchange programs
- Lesson plans and other learning materials and resources for teachers.
Here are some of the best practice examples of AFS initiatives to integrate intercultural learning in schools.
INTERNATIONAL TEACHER CONFERENCES
Seven years ago AFS Turkey established an annual Spectrum of Education conference for teachers, which attracted 45 educators in 2016. Today Spectrum focuses on intercultural learning, and offers practical workshops that help teachers to reflect on their learning experience in Turkey.
INTERCULTURAL WEBINARS FOR EDUCATORS
Since 2009, Intercultura (AFS Italy) has offered webinars for teachers, principals and other educational professionals. The webinars, which attract up to 800 teachers, cover topics such as preparing students for study abroad programs, working with international students in the classroom, organizing intercultural class exchanges, policies related to intercultural learning and more.
TRAINING TEACHERS TO FACILITATE INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCES
For the past three years, AFS Australia has provided orientations and intercultural teacher training for the Victorian Young Leaders Program to China, a six-week program for Australian high school students to go to China. The program prepares students to live and work as citizens and future leaders in an interconnected global community. All teachers involved in this program attend training events on intercultural learning and learn how to become better facilitators.
IN-PERSON AND ONLINE TEACHER TRAININGS
Seven AFS organizations from the Caribbean region offer unique educators programs for teachers interested in improving their intercultural understanding through an in-person teachers’ exchange. Schools participating in this program host an educator from another country to share working methodologies and aspects of their local culture, while also learning about the local reality. AFS Guatemala also developed a training course that combines four on-line modules and one in-person training to improve teachers’ preparation for the experience. Teachers don’t have to go abroad to participate in this training course; they can opt to focus only on the intercultural learning modules.