Ten educators and journalists from Portugal met with College of Education faculty recently to learn about teacher education practices, licensure, and trends and challenges in teacher preparation and evaluation in the United States
The group was invited to the U.S. under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. Their program was arranged by World Learning Visitor Exchange Program, an organization dedicated to facilitating exchanges among professionals from the United States and around the world, and it was organized locally by the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts.
“Portugal is in the process of putting in place standards for teacher training and evaluation,” said Cynthia Melcher, World Affairs Council executive director, explaining the context of the visit.
The Department of State outlined the specific objectives for the Portugal project as providing an overview of elementary and secondary education structure, administration, and financing issues at the federal, state and local levels; learning about the role of non-governmental organizations and professional associations in promoting education policies; and engaging in discussions with government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations and school administrators about issues of assessment and measurement of student performance.
Following a two-hour meeting in the College of Education with faculty from the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, the group lunched at the Worcester Dining Commons where the delegates chatted with UMass Amherst students, then traveled to Gill-Montague Regional School in Turners Falls, Mass., to meet with the school’s principal, sit in on a class conducted by a College of Education student teacher intern, and talk about school practices with other teachers.
Prior to their visit to the UMass Amherst College of Education, the group had meetings at the U. S. Dept. of Education in Washington D.C., met with representatives from the University of Maryland, and attended discussions at World Learning.
Members of the delegation included Miguel Alves Lobo Da CostAzevedo, Director of Projects, Forum para a Liberdade de Educacao; Ms.Ana Rita Barreira Duarte Bessa, Project Coordinator, School Leadership and Management, Empresarios pela Inclusao Social (Entrepreneurs for Social Inclusion); Ms. Maria Leonor Venancio Estevens Duarte, Inspector, General-Inspectorate Office, Ministry of Education; Ms. Isabel Navarro Affonseca De Sous Leira, Journalist, Expresso; Mr. Manuel Isabelinho Miguens, Secretary-General, National Council of Education; Mr. Joao Paulo Ramos Duarte Mineiro, Director, Quinta das Palmeiras Secondary School, Covilha; Mr. Michael Lothar Mendes Seufert, Deputy, CDS-PP (Popular Party); Ms. Luisa Maria Ucha Da Silva, Head, Curriculum Development Bureau, Ministry of Education; Susana Maria De Moura Alves Da Silva Toscano, Education and Youth Advisor, President of the Portuguese Republic; and Ms. Barbara Maria Baptista Wong, Journalist, Publico.