USF Hosts Educators from Around the World in Training Program

Six-week Program Brings Teachers from 12 Nations to Tampa High Schools



By Vicki Chachere


TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2010) Twenty-four high school teachers from nations as diverse as Argentina and Bangladesh, Egypt and Estonia, and Senegal and the Ukraine will spend the next six weeks at the University of South Florida boosting their classroom skills.


In a new program led by the Patel Center for Global Solutions and the Department of Secondary Education in USF’s College of Education, the teachers will study new education methods in a variety of disciplines to better prepare their own students for a globalized world. As part of their training, the teachers will spend two weeks in Freedom and Wharton High Schools working in tandem with Hillsborough County teachers.


The teachers come from: Argentina, Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Senegal and the Ukraine.


“We are looking at it as a symbiotic relationship,” said USF Professor of Social Science Education Bárbara Cruz of the effort, which is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the International Research & Exchanges Board. IREX is a non-profit organization which supports education programs, independent media and the development of civic partipation worldwide.


During their visit the teachers will participate in intensive training sessions designed to improve both their teaching skills and their mastery of the sciences, math, civics and English literature and language. The teachers also will have opportunities to develop advocacy and leadership skills that will help them promote education and social reform in their home countries.


Organizers aim to create a collaboration of teachers that will enhance education worldwide in an increasingly interconnected global society, said Mark Amen, academic director of the Patel Center.


“We hope the teachers from these 12 countries and the teachers from our participating schools in Hillsborough County will gain a mutual understanding of effective teaching practices,” Amen said. “The goal will lead to a better informed global citizenry among the students with whom these teachers work on a daily basis.”



The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.