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updated September 3, 2010


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Fall 2009 - Spring 2010

Spring 2010

New Degree Candidate - Spring '10

Yang Gyeltshen  ygyeltsh@educ.umass.edu

I have been teaching in one of the teacher education colleges in Bhutan for the last fifteen years or so. How I got into teaching some may say is one’s destiny, and others might say it is through opportunities availed. Yang GyeltshenWhichever may be the case, teaching is one thing that was never in my mind until I tripped over it during my initial job as an educational media illustrator. The drawings I analyzed to illustrate some teaching materials meant for primary education lead me into the minds of how children look at art and learning. I started reading more and more books on children’s art and saw the correlation between art and learning, hence, did a research on children’s art and wrote a thesis – The Role & Place of Children’s Art in Bhutanese Primary Schools. Opposed to my earlier thinking, I became a teacher, profession which I now take with great pride.

If we take it seriously, teaching is not as simple as most assume it to be. Why do we teach? We teach so that learners will learn. How do learners learn? Well, each individual is different and their learning styles vary. Despite such variations, should all learners simply follow and adapt to how the teacher teaches, or, should the teacher cater to each learning style and individual’s needs? Should one follow the latter, what it tales for a good teacher to accomplish such Proficiency?

Confronting such thoughts and issues has motivated me to seek further tools and answers. Young or old, good learning can bring great changes in one's life and teachers are the agents of that change. For a number of years I have been involved in classroom teaching and learning discussions for children - the Pedagogy. This seems to differ from how adults learn - the andragogy. The venue for such academic discussion can’t be better than Center for International Education, Umass. I am very happy and proud to be here at CIE and look forward to accomplish as much as what CIE has to offer.  

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Fall 2009

New Students Join CIE

In September, CIE welcomed six new students from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, South Africa and the U.S. They bring a wide diversity of experience as educators who have worked in India, Zimbabwe, Iran, Thailand, and Dominican Republic as well as in their home countries. There are three Master's candidates and three Doctoral candidates. Their experience adds to that of those already here to create an even more diverse set of students and experiences in the learning community at CIE.


Philip Mangis   pmangis@educ.umass.edu

I come from the State of Oregon, but have spent the last four years working in NE Thailand with the Center for International Education and Exchange (CIEE); a study abroad program for U.S. undergraduate students.

Philip MangisWhile at CIEE-Thailand, I gained direct experience planning and facilitating a community-based study abroad program.  The program employs a participatory learning model to help students understand the complexities surrounding development and globalization issues.  Students learn by exchanging with members of Thailand’s grassroots peoples’ movement, but do so within the context of a group process that challenges them to work with one another to decide collectively what an appropriate response is to what they are learning and experiencing.  Students tend to return to the United States as informed and engaged global citizens; impelled to continue their educational process and community engagement.  Some former students have even started their own non-profit, the Educational Network for Global and Grassroots Exchange, in an effort to be reciprocal and work in solidarity with the communities they learned from in Thailand.

The transformative pedagogical approach that CIEE-Thailand applies towards education, and the transformative impact I have seen the program have on students’ lives, prompted my application to the Center for International Education.  While at CIE I hope to gain a firm grounding in the concepts and theories that inform libratory pedagogy and non-formal education, as well as develop a strategy for building more transformative and participatory learning centers around the world that are rooted in peoples’ movements and struggles against oppression and injustice - rooted in a belief that another world is possible - but simultaneously provide contexts where young American students can feel empowered to make a difference.

I look forward to my time at CIE and building relationships and connections with those new to the CIE community, as well as those who have come before.


Mohammad Javad Ahmadi     mjavad@educ.umass.edu

In 2000, I began working in the field of education. I joined a group of Afghan volunteer graduate students who were training teachers of refugees’ community-based schools in Iran. The teachers had not received any teacher training. However, they were young and motivated. That was my first, but exciting experience in education and opened the door to Mohammad JavadAfghanistan’s education problems, challenges, and issues.

In 2005, when I returned to my country Afghanistan after 20 years, I joined the teacher education department of Ministry of Education. Although my BA was in mechanical engineering and my MA was in philosophy of science, I chose education as my career, because I found it very crucial for development of my country and also very exciting.

For more than 2 years I was involved in conducting research and evaluation of different teacher training programs. Then, I joined the UNESO International Institute for Educational Planning in 2007 to support the Ministry of Education in strategic planning and monitoring and evaluation. We reviewed and revised the National Education Strategic Plan. During this process, we faced many questions on how to improve policy making processes, what are the most effective strategies for developing Afghanistan’s education, and how to improve educational systems.
In addition, I helped the Higher Education Project (HEP) in developing and translating training materials for faculty of science and mathematics faculties. Also, I taught “Educational Evaluation and Assessment” in HEP Afghan Master Program at Kabul University of Education.
I am glad that I am now at CIE and I have the opportunity to reflect, learn, and discuss about international education development. I have found the center as a marvelous learning community that includes professors, practitioners, and learners with diverse international experience.


Laura Gluck    lgluck@educ.umass.edu

When I was eight years old, I stumbled across a playground bully mocking a student in the brand new Special Needs class.  I broke into the small circle that had formed around the two kids and passionately declared that everyone deserved the same amount of respect.  I introduced myself to the student and led him back to the Special Education class.  After meeting the other students, I found that I really connecting with them; I sought them out every day during recess, volunteered as a very junior T.A. during their summer school program, and eventually was Laura Gluckawarded the right to skip some of my own classes to do Hooked on Phonics with them.  That was the beginning of my love for literacy and helping those who do not have the same privileges or opportunities that so many others take for granted. 

At Washington University in St. Louis where I received my BA, there were no courses offered in International Education or International Development.  I knew nothing about the field, and imagined I would pursue a career in psychology or special education.  However, when I went to the Dominican Republic through the Peace Corps, I learned about a whole new area which was simultaneously fascinating, enriching, and rewarding.  In the mountain town where I was sent, there were no programs set up for kids with special needs.  Most of the children who couldn’t learn at the same pace as everyone else dropped out of school after 3rd grade, and kids with more serious developmental problems were not welcomed into the education system.  Focusing on the serious and far-reaching problem of literacy, I worked hard to train teachers in better methodology, and also started a pull-out program for struggling students.  Eventually, there was so much enthusiasm in the community for the project that we formed a committee and opened a public school for kids with learning disabilities and delays, as well as more profound special needs.

Although I absolutely loved my experience in the Dominican Republic, it also taught me how much more I have to learn.  I am so thrilled to be here at CIE to have access to such a wealth of knowledgeable faculty and other students- many of whom have already achieved more than I could dream of.

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Mekhribon Abdullaeva    maabdull@educ.umass.edu
                                                           
I have been working with Socio-Economic Development Center (SABR) in Uzbekistan since 1996. SABR’s main purpose is to provide social and financial support to the most vulnerable people of our society: people living in poverty, women and children. Together with SABR professionals, I conducted research on socio-economic condition of women in rural areas for the UN report. I also worked on the micro-loan project for rural areas. In Mika Abdullaevaaddition, I organized educational seminars on reproductive health, HIV, TB, domestic violence, food security and other issues. Working in rural areas with people who suffered from diseases and were deprived of access to medical services and education was the catalyst for my commitment to help vulnerable populations worldwide.

My interest in educating women’s issues is also closely connected to having received the World Bank’s Margaret McNamara Award and a P.E.O.  International Scholarship for commitment to the well being of women and children in developing countries. Through the School for International Training I worked with the National Organization for Women (NOW) in Washington, DC. The advocacy for strengthening policies related to women’s and children’s education and health care were a unique experience that I can use in my future work. Furthermore, I advocated at the United Nation’s 49th and 53rd Sessions on the Commission on the Status of Women for critical points of women’s health and education issues.

During the summer I have been working with the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership in New York City. We organized various trainings, workshops and retreats to empower women and develop ethical leadership skills.


Mindy Eichhorn      eichhorn@educ.umass.edu

IMIndy Eichhorn am so excited to begin studying at CIE!  I just returned from India, where I have worked since 2004.  Most recently, I was a special education consultant for Destiny Education, Mumbai.  I travelled all over Mumbai and the rest of India in order to train teachers in special education techniques.  I also assisted schools as they developed programs and policies for students with special learning needs.  Being a consultant was a marvelous experience – I met so many wonderful teachers, students, and parents from all over the country.  I loved sharing the skills and strategies that I learned from the University of Tennessee and in the Public Schools in Hartford Connecticut through professional development seminars.  I especially enjoyed follow-up visits to see the teachers implementing new teaching strategies they had learned and the way students were benefitting! 

Additionally, I was fond of sampling the Indian cuisine from each region!  I learned many Indian recipes and now love spicy food and masala chai.  I also enjoyed shopping for fabric in the Indian bazaars.  I have even become fairly good at bargaining - in Hindi!  Most importantly, I treasure the friendships that I have made during my time in India.  Indian hospitality and relationships continue to amaze me!

It is my hope to return to India after my coursework and to continue to equip teachers with strategies for struggling students.  I know I will learn a lot from the professors and students at CIE, and I’m eager to discover more about education on an international level… and to begin forming new friendships here!

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Verity Norman    vnorman@educ.umass.edu

I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and lived through the country’s volatile emergence from apartheid into democracy.  Although the politics of the ‘80s baffled me, it was a hopeful experience to witness South Africans of all races come together to make a success of the first democratic elections in 1994.

I left high school fairly determined to do anything except be a teacher, being the daughter of Verity Normanone, but somehow ended up in that role!  After completing my undergraduate in English literature, I moved to the U.S.A.  After spending a few years doing religious work, I joined a team for a start-up online education project called “The Brick Project.”  This project gave me the opportunity to work with students and teachers across the world in an effort to develop cross-cultural, media-based learning tools.  It opened my eyes to the opportunities in the field of education and helped me realize that many of the problems in our world today are both a result of education and could possibly be rectified by education.

When the project came to an end, I took up a teaching/counseling position at a girls’ school in Harare, Zimbabwe. While I was there, Zimbabwe experienced a socio-economic collapse, and this had a devastating effect on the education system.  Being a helpless observer frustrated me, and when the opportunity came to improve my qualifications at CIE I jumped at it.  As so many other students have said, I am grateful to have this time to take stock of the opportunities I have had thus far, and be able to learn more broadly about the field of education.  I look forward to taking everything I learn at CIE back to my home in southern Africa.


 

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