Going global: Partnership with UVU to provide international teaching opportunities

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By John Holfeltz

Dixie State University is partnering with Utah Valley University to offer education students international student-teaching experiences.

Jeffery Olson, UVU’s senior vice president of academic affairs, and Parker Fawson, dean of UVU’s school of education, met March 31 with Michael Lacourse, DSU’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, and Brenda Sabey, dean of DSU’s school of education, to sign memorandums of understanding and agreement for the new partnership.

The main objective of the program is for education students to get to work as a student teacher in selected countries around the world. The countries where students would go to teach were chosen strategically because the students in the classrooms already know English.

“International student teaching allows students enrolled in educator preparation programs to complete a portion of their professional program requirements in a targeted region of the world,” Fawson said.

Sabey said the final learning experience required for those preparing to be elementary or secondary school teachers is a semester of student teaching.

“They are paired with a teacher in the public schools and demonstrate they have achieved the program learning outcomes by being the lead teacher for several weeks in their classroom,” Sabey said. 

A faculty member who supervises and evaluates the student teacher will accompany them in the international classrooms along with the classroom teacher. Normally, those assignments are completed in the Washington County School District, Sabey said.

One of the goals of the program is providing UVU and DSU students with opportunities to experience instructional settings in other cultures, Sabey said. Student teachers will work with diverse students and develop a broader global understanding. The student teachers will also be housed with host families, allowing for the students to gain more knowledge about the culture.

Kimi Gubler, a junior elementary education major from Visalia, California, said she thinks the program will be helpful for education majors.

“I want to go and do that because I think it would be a good opportunity to do gain education from another perspective,” Gubler said.

Sabey said the partnership was made with UVU because the education department at DSU had been trying to figure out how to provide students with an international experience for a while. 

Both DSU and UVU students benefit from this partnership because it allows a greater number to access this experience, Fawson said.

“We are pleased to have a partnership with DSU to help a larger number of prospective teachers gain valuable linguistic, cultural and professional experience that better connects them and their students to the world,” Fawson said.