I am a summer institute junkie. It all began with a Florida Humanities Council institute in St. Augustine in 2010. After that, the doors of opportunity opened up for me and thanks to NEH, MountVernon, Colonial Williamsburg, Civil War Institute, and Gilder Lehrman. I have been all over the United States, learning with other teachers, crafting ideas, building lifelong friendships, and gaining new perspectives on history and history education. Now thanks to the Goethe-Institut and Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) I am headed to Germany to do the same!
For two weeks in June I will participate in a TOP Study Tour with other social studies educators. The goal of the program is to promote knowledge about modern Germany in North American social studies and STEM classrooms.
I was originally drawn to TOP as a way to teach global perspectives across our curricula. Teaching global competencies is difficult because it is not always explicitly part of a curriculum. But, helping students empathize with and understand the world beyond the United States is vitally important given our world economy and the pace at which our borders are blurring. Many times there are gaps in students’ exposure to contemporary cultures and economies beyond North America, as well as misconceptions about Germany’s political system and the country’s role in the world. I am hoping to remedy some of these gaps within my own instruction and units of study through my participation in the TOP Study Tour.
I began using the TOP teaching materials a few years ago. Here are a few of my favorite lessons from TOP.
The education nerd in me is most excited about the prospect of seeing the German educational system firsthand. But, I am also excited about seeing some parts of Germany I have not visited before, especially since I am so passionate about place-based education and the inclusion of cultural heritage into every subject area. I can’t wait to learn and grow with educators in Germany.
T minus 84 days!