Teachers need a global perspective: Get one with Fulbright


Trista Sobeck

Teachers have the unique opportunity to touch a life so profoundly that the information they convey will live on with a student forever. Every teacher knows this. They receive letters, notes and invitations from former students for decades after they’ve left the classroom.

In order to continue to grow professionally, teachers need opportunities to be challenged and continuously learn as they progress in their careers. Expanding one’s understanding of the world and themselves can positively impact classroom instruction as teachers engage with students and families. What are some ways they can do this long after they’ve graduated from college and may have limited access to life-changing professional development?

Ann Nielsen, Associate Director of Center for Advanced Studies in Global Education at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College says, perhaps one of the great ways is to apply for a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program. The Fulbright TGC is a year-long professional development opportunity for U.S. elementary, middle and high school teachers to develop skills that will help them prepare students for an increasingly global society. Through experience abroad and global collaborations, the program provides teachers with an international perspective that they can, in turn, offer their students.

Nielsen says, “This program is a way for teachers to gain experience in areas they might not be exposed to in their school districts or even within the state. Teaching isn’t usually a profession where people are afforded the luxury of traveling. Most teachers begin teaching in the state where they are certified and don’t often relocate to teach in other places.” She continues that this can be a challenge for teachers to be exposed to other educational systems and ways of learning and can create a microscopic perspective on education.

The Fulbright TGC offers is a resource for teachers to broaden their perspective and bring global education information back to their districts. “This can be an opportunity to reinvigorate teachers,” Nielsen says. Interested participants who apply for funding for the Fulbright TGC will be provided funding for travel expenses. Some international field experience destinations have included: Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Philippines, Russia and Ukraine.

Program details:

  • Online course: Participants complete a rigorous, semester-long online global education course.

  • Symposium: With their school administrators, participants attend an in-person professional development workshop to network, collaborate and develop strategies. This takes place in Washington, D.C.

  • International field experience: For two to three weeks, participants immerse themselves in another country’s culture and education system.

  • Project: Near the end of the program, participants create a Global Education Guide that serves as a resource for their community to build global awareness and mutual understanding.

Interested in participating in the Fulbright TGC? Find out if you’re eligible.