Teacher candidates in the College of Education (COE) School of Teacher Education elementary program (STE EECE) departed for a field study in Kyoto, Japan on May 20, 2013. In collaboration with Bukkyo University, eleven candidates from the EECE cohort program are visiting several elementary schools. For one week, they will observe classes, attend seminars, work with Bukkyo teacher candidates, and explore cultural sites across Kyoto. This is the first group of COE teacher candidates to participate in a course and field study of this nature.

As part of the interdisciplinary Inquiry into Japanese Education (STE 399) course led by Rosela Balinbin, candidates examine aspects of Japanese culture, history, language, and education. The field study will be followed by a project which includes an academic presentation, highlighting what they learned and how they will apply their newly acquired skills and teaching strategies.

The COE has had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Bukkyo since 2000. Collaboration between the COE and Bukkyo has included faculty exchange visits, conferences, and student visits. In 2012, COE Partnership and Placement Coordinator Aaron Levine, who serves as a course assistant for Balinbin’s class, began discussions with Professor Norihisa Hashimoto about bringing a group of COE students to Kyoto. During Bukkyo’s most recent visit earlier this year, the plans were finalized.

Chisato Nonaka is another course assistant who is from Fukuoka, Japan. She recently earned her MEd in the college’s Department of Educational Foundations and will begin her PhD program at the COE this fall.

“This pilot program opens up the gateway for dialogue among teacher candidates and faculty from two countries to build professional relationships, to engage in collaborative dialogue about education, to embrace culture and tradition from both a pedagogical and human perspective, and to bring together teachers from diverse backgrounds and upbringings in order to find ways to better educate the multi-lingual learners we find every day in our classrooms,” Balinbin said. “This is an opportunity for all those involved to put into action the COE’s mission and vision – to be knowledgeable, caring, and effective educators; to know our sense of place through global connections.”

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