BCS Advantage Magazine Summer 2016 - Page 8

Bringing the World Home By Stacia Harris, Assistant Director of Communications, in an interview with Laura Mitchell, Art Teacher and 2015 North Buncombe District Teacher of the Year Laura Mitchell, North Buncombe Middle School Art Teacher, will be joining 25 other North Carolina educators on a study tour to South Africa in June. Mitchell will visit schools in Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg as well as exploring historic sites and national parks. The goal is to not just bring back more of a global understanding for students, but to create global partnerships with the schools in South Africa. The BCS Advantage Magazine spoke with Ms. Mitchell about what this trip means for her and her students. equipped to get along with others and become global leaders within our own community and throughout the world.” Why did you want to be a part of this South Africa trip? “Every time I travel to a new country I gain more knowledge about the world, and I’m changed in some way. When I heard about the opportunity to travel to South Africa, I knew it would be a good contrast to my trip to Kenya in 2014. Before that, in 2000, I was able to be a part of a similar trip with North Carolina educators and traveled to Japan. I have stayed in touch with some of the teachers I traveled with as well as the Japanese teachers I visited.” How do you turn these global experiences into lessons for your students? “As an art educator I tell my students that art is a universal language and that through learning visual literacy they will be better at anything they go forth into when they graduate. Everything the students learn in each subject links to another. I can’t teach art without math, literacy, science, and social studies. It is all of this. Global education is all of this, too. Through blogging, snail mail, and email my students will exchange ideas, artwork, and writing. They will have a better idea of what it might be to walk around Cape Town as a 13-year- old South African, and the students in South Africa will have a better idea of what it is really like to be a 13-year-old South African student from Weaverville, NC. It is the everyday things that help us connect so the students can work together with students around the world to connect and discuss bigger issues like world peace, water quality, education equity, fair trade, and the environment.” What does Global Education mean to you? “Global Education is more than just creating intercultural understanding. It is creating unity. By opening my students to the wider world and helping them to see that our fellow humans around the globe are a part of our community, I am giving them the tools to see themselves as global citizens. By having more understanding and then coupling that understanding with authentic experiences of interacting with students from other countries, our students in Buncombe County will be better How have you seen your students transformed by learning about the world? “I have seen my students make connections between subjects and come into my room and tell me how it relates to what they are learning in English Language Arts or something they discussed in science or social studies. I also have seen their eyes light up and walls come down. We recently got a new student from the Dominican Republic. My students have embraced him and are curious to know about where he came from. I truly believe 6 6