Indiana Area Senior High School

Fulbright teachers once again bring an international perspective to IHS

By MADELINE SHIRLEY

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program for International Teachers (FDAI) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).

Once again Fulbright teachers from all around the world are visiting IHS to sit in on classes each Wednesday to observe, learn, and interact with the students and staff. Not only do these teachers get to see how things are done here, but they also get to tell us a little bit about what it’s like in their home countries.

With all of the changes over the past two years, IHS is finally getting back to a normal school year. This will be the second year since the Covid shutdown that the Fulbright teachers are visiting and students and staff are always eager to learn about their home cultures and schools as well as get the chance to know them personally.

This year, there are a total of 21 Fulbright teachers at IHS, JH, and Eisenhower Elementary: Manjushree Patil from India, Lia Afifah from Indonesia, Dan Jaworski from Israel, Fernando Perez from Mexico, Erika Sanchez from Mexico, Aziz Maruan from Morocco, Maiken Calkoen from New Zealand, Francis Ray Subong from the Philippines, Joey Singson from the Philippines, Amadou Sow from Senegal, June Brampy from Singapore, Olivia Nassiwa from Uganda, Ruam Costa from Brazil, Alex Tandi from Indonesia, Maipelo Modisa from Botswana, Mujib Rahiman from India, Anu Aarnio from Finland, Panos Kanychis from Greece, Joy Kitt from New Zealand, Au Yard Wah from Singapore, and Yeo Peng Seng from Singapore. 

Mr. Maruan, from Chefchaouen in northwest Morocco, stated that “Learning shares many universal values. Students should explore beyond their boundaries to have a better understanding of people all over the world.”

Many things are different here than they are back at these teachers’ home schools. Ms. June, from Singapore, stated that “The class size is bigger in my school. The smaller teacher-student ratio here allows for better teacher intervention with the students who require more support. Here, in Singapore, the standards are the same for different subjects, but teachers have the autonomy to enact the teaching of the standards differently. Each school in Singapore is given the same funding from the government, and it is up to the school to decide where and how the money will be used.”

While some of their experiences have been what they expected, they were surprised to find that American schools have some of their own issues as well. Ms. Olivia, from Uganda, expressed “I expected more vibrant classrooms and students, as the USA is known for its high-quality education. The learners ought to take full advantage of this.” Mr. Sow, from Senegal, expressed, “From movies I had watched, I had the impression of students being very noisy and rowdy, but when I came here, I saw that they were very nice, welcoming, and very interested in what we are doing.”

The Fulbright program is made possible through the efforts of IUP Dr. Michele Petrucci of the IUP International Office and Dr. Lara Luetkehans-Provost, co-authors of the grant. The Fulbright delegates are hosted and accompanied by former IHS teacher Mr. Michael Rieg, who has been with the program from the program’s inception at IHS in 2016. 

Mr. Rieg commented, “The group of Fulbright teachers deeply appreciate the interesting and enlightening opportunities provided to them to learn about American school culture.” 

IHS students and staff hope all the teachers have gathered as much information and insight from IHS as we have gathered from them. The senior high wishes all the Fulbright Teachers the best of luck and hope they will benefit from sharing their experiences with students and staff from their home schools. 

[Photo courtesy of Mr. Michael Rieg] This year’s Fulbright teachers are excited to be visiting schools in America this fall.

Madeline Shirley

Associate Editor/Business Manager

Madeline is a sophomore and a second-year reporter for the High arrow. She is involved with IHS Key club and SGA. She loves to hang out with her friends and go to the movies. Madeline is looking forward to writing articles for the High Arrow.

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