Beatrice Bailey, professor of social studies education in Clemson’s College of Education, recently participated in a Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad Program exploring contemporary U.S.-Poland relations.
The program is designed so that participants return to their institutions to develop projects that allow them to share their broadened knowledge and experiences with students and colleagues in the U.S. According to Bailey, the true beneficiaries of her experience will be Clemson students, specifically those in her Principles of American Education undergraduate course.
“I’m charging each student to design a model K-12 Global Citizenship Education activity for their preferred discipline and grade-level that focuses on U.S.-Poland relations,” Bailey said. “Future educators can help students become ‘world changers’ in any discipline or grade level as they encourage these types of activities.”
For their service-learning project, students are beginning with the assumption that their progressive superintendent within the simulation has mandated a district-wide, two-week focus on U.S.-Poland relations within every class and discipline after state testing is completed. The undergraduates are honoring 100 years of U.S.-Poland relations that have led to Poland becoming a thriving nation while they simultaneously learn to encourage global citizenship in their future careers.
Over the course of the Fulbright Study Abroad, Bailey met ambassadors and experts on international relations, traveled across Poland to see historical sites and modern areas, and took part in discussions and cultural events designed to connect specialists from different academic disciplines.
Bailey said Poland is one European country that has a deep-seated love for America. This love can be traced back 100 years to the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, and more recently to the emergence of the Solidarity movement in 1989 that saw Poland re-establish itself as a democratic republic.
Bailey said the general consensus seems to be that Poland is better off now than it’s ever been thanks to its struggle toward fuller independence as a representative republic. She said the U.S. and Poland need to maintain a good relationship in order for us to realize United Nations’ Development Goals as well as mutually beneficial economic and security interests.
“Before this trip, I couldn’t have imagined the kinds of connections we have and could have with Poland, from the wide variety of multinational corporations and think tanks to the international film industry evolving within Poland’s borders,” Bailey said. “The trip reinforced my belief in Clemson and our entire nation’s need to focus more fully on education from kindergarten to post graduate work that emphasizes global citizenship.
Bailey looks forward to the variety of approaches her students will undoubtedly take to this assignment. One future high school mathematics teacher, Tyler Hamilton, is designing a two-week unit that details the severity of pollution problems in the U.S. and Poland. Hamilton’s students will be tasked to devise ways to mend these problems using instantaneous rates-of-changes and derivatives based on South Carolina College- and Career-Ready Standards for Mathematics.
Hamilton’s students would then present their ideas while arguing that their group’s plan is the best to address components of Poland’s pollution crisis. The best of these proposals would then be presented to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Beth Castello, a future English teacher, will have students read and write about Nobel-Prize winning writer, Czeslaw Milosz, as they reflect on two of his books, “Visions from San Francisco Bay” and “Native Realm: A Search for Self-Definition.” This activity would invite students to ponder the myriad, universal challenges facing immigrants.
Taylor Medley, an elementary education major, will detail ways that third graders can learn more about Poland’s Dzień Dziecka (Children’s Day) as they engage in inquiry projects and pen pal exchanges. The activity would invite students to conduct a critical examination of how Poland and other countries honor the rights and dignity of children, while at the same time challenging them to use mathematics skills as they imagine the costs of sending toys to their pen pals for Dzień Dziecka.
Bailey also plans to have the students write letters to Nicki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Clemson alumna, so that they can share their suggestions on ways that K-12 young people in Poland and the US can work together toward addressing UN development goals in small but significant ways. They will also post their US-Polish curricular designs within a CU blog that other future and current teachers can use as they move toward global citizenship education.
“The ideal student within South Carolina and at Clemson is one who is prepared for global citizenship,” Bailey said. “Through our curriculum simulation and correspondence with UN Ambassador Haley, we’re showing how any teacher can begin to design ways to encourage global citizenship within their discipline and grade level.”
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