CLEMSON — Sixteen high school teachers from around the globe have come together this semester at Clemson University to learn best practices in education from professors and local teachers.

For the sixth consecutive year, Clemson’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education has received federal support to host the International Leaders in Education Program: 16 fellows from seven countries — Bangladesh, Brazil, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal and Uganda — individually selected to become leaders in their respective educational systems. The program received a grant from the International Research and Exchanges Board, funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the State Department.

The educators — many of whom find themselves in the United States for their first time — have numerous roles. They take graduate classes at Clemson a few days a week, they teach one day a week in local middle and high schools to put both their own personal best practices and newly learned practices to work in a true classroom setting and they take part in numerous cultural experiences and trips so they learn and experience American culture during their short five-month stints.

“This is really a special program where they get to study to learn and share about effective teaching, and at the same time get to go into the local schools and learn about the U.S. education system firsthand,” said Clemson professor emeritus Bill Fisk, who leads a team of six faculty who run the program. “The idea is that they will learn new things here and then go back and be leaders and trainers in their own countries to help raise the level of their education systems.”

Clemson is just one of four universities in the nation to have been awarded this grant, joining the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y.; Kent State; and Arizona State. The federal funding pays for all expenses incurred, including shared apartments, cooking ware and furniture. The visiting educators are taking four classes this semester at Clemson then teach alongside teachers at Liberty Middle School, Riverside Middle School or Seneca High School.

They expect to visit the Martin Luther King Center and Carter Library in Atlanta this weekend, meet other Leaders in Education Fellows at Arizona State April 15-18 and travel to the Columbia to visit with the governor’s chief of staff, Ted Pitts, and Sen. Larry Martin May 6. Their final event as part of their Clemson visit is a closing reception on May 7.

“What is special and unique, too, is that not only are these teachers learning about America and education in our country, but our folks, and those at the local schools who might never have the chance to go to any of these other countries, are getting to learn from them, too,” Fisk added. “This is such an exciting program, I feel so blessed to be a part of it.”

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