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SXU Students Attend Global Collaboration Week Conference


Saint Xavier University's Kathleen McInerney, Ph.D., believes strongly in the importance of connecting students with international educational experiences, and in September, she organized for her students studying with early childhood education majors to participate in the annual Global Collaboration Week Conference. Conference organizers Steve Hargedon and Lucy Gray note that students and teachers "can join in and experience global collaboration. Empowering students and teachers to create authentic, meaningful experiences will deepen learning and improve educational outcomes for all children. Our hope is that this event will build greater understanding of the possibilities for global education."

The Global Collaboration Week Conference is an annual virtual event that runs 24 hours a day to accommodate time zones, and the students in Theoretical Foundations of ESL and Bilingual Education chose sessions they wished to attend. According to McInerney, "Students' reflections on what they experienced and learned are testimonies to their growing interest in international studies as well as designing collaborative learning experiences with teachers and students around the world."

Valeria Villalobos, senior, attended the session, "Building a Community of Problem-Solvers" and noted, "Our students will face many challenges in life, and this session allowed me to become aware of the amazing power we have as teachers to build a community of problem solvers. As the world is becoming more interconnected, it is critical that our students learn how to identify the problems around them and collaboratively find or create solutions for these problems. To build a community of problem solvers, we need to begin by transforming our own classroom environment. Instead of focusing more on how well our students will do on a test, we should focus on how the education we are providing them will help them become productive members of society."

Bridget Bulger, sophomore, joined "The Art of Peace Project" and described, "The hope of this ongoing event is to start a conversation about what peace is, what it looks like or sounds like, and what it can be if we as a world start to look at it and make changes. The various pieces of art, whether done by children from Uganda, the U.S. or Mali, contained fairly similar representation of peace. It was very interesting to me to see how children around the world view peace in the same way."

"'Classroom Conversations with the World' focused on a global curriculum with discussion, photos and videos from different parts of the world, including Ecuador and China," said Vanessa Mora, sophomore. "A middle school student from Panama created an art piece of the Alto Playon group, which is an indigenous community. You can listen to others share information about their country, while also listen to educators and their students speak their native language. The best take away from this program is that it establishes a global partnership, and it is genuine."

Attending this conference aids in learning how to interact with others globally; it also provides pre-service teachers with a strong sense of professional identity and the support of an international community of teachers.

To learn more about international partnerships, visit the Center for International Education. Read on about the global connections that SXU students have made in South Korea, Honduras, China, Italy, Ireland, France and Belize.