A shift in culture: Visiting teachers from India experience the classrooms of IHS

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By FIONA MURPHY – Many American students graduate high school with a deprivation of global cultural awareness, especially in terms of an accurate consciousness of how other students learn worldwide. Indiana Senior High School takes pride in being a contemporary catalyst of the global scholastic community by offering international exchanges for not only students, but for teachers as well. This semester, the senior high provided the experience of teaching in an American school to eleven teachers from Bangalore, India for ten days from October 10 to October 20 in the hopes of creating a more connected web of international teaching styles and philosophies.

The visiting teachers had the opportunity to experience the American school system through the classrooms of primarily 9-and-10 grade subject teachers.

Contact between senior high principal Wade McElheny and Bhaskar D. Krishnamurthy, director of the Sri Vani Education Centre in Bangalore, was facilitated by Dr. Prashanth Bhardwaj of the Eberly College of Business at IUP.

The intention of the program is to provide educational opportunities to rural communities in India, while also offering American educators and pupils a chance to identify their differences in the classroom.

Along with Krishnamurthy, the other teachers from India visiting classrooms at the senior high were Mr. Subramany, Mr. Anandram Seetharamaiah, Mr. K.R. Vishwanath, Ms. Ashna Sridar, Ms. Nithya Iyer, Ms. Roopanath Shoba, Mrs. Sapna Joshi, Ms. Sen Gupta Debalina, Ms. Shashikala Naganna, Ms. Shwetha Kiran Shantharam, and Ms. Srinivas Anand Indumathi.

During their stay in Indiana, teachers roomed at IUP and were allowed to explore the town at their leisure, while also attending excursions to nearby sights.

While at IHS, they aided students in recognizing the differences between school systems in the US and school systems in India, offering new ideas and methods of teaching to students and teachers alike.

Many students recognize the importance of experiences such as these being offered at IHS. Junior Tommy Arbuckle stated prior to the teacher’s’ arrival, “I’m extremely excited for this opportunity for more diversity in the school.” Not only was this experience in diversity offered at IHS, but in the future, teachers of the senior high will be offered an opportunity to travel to the Sri Vani Education Centre for a similar, enlightening experience.

Discussing how this program would be similar to last year’s ILEP program, which brought a group of visiting teachers from various countries in Africa, India, and the Far East, Principal McElheny said, “I think the success of the ILEP program and the way it was promoted helped others in our community appreciate the benefits of such an exchange; we [modeled] it after the ILEP program.”

Students and teachers alike continue to benefit from these exchange programs that bring a great deal of valuable knowledge and insight to our school and community.

The program has enabled many students to further their understanding of worldwide education and has brought to the school many insights into the learning community of the second-most populated country in the world.

[Photo by Erik Puskar]

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