This week we started our Summer Pre-departure Seminar with Dr. Brent Edwards (June 24-July 19, 2013) at University of Maryland. We study the Education System of the United States with ELMS, a virtual learning environment. During the four week course we will read papers, discuss and learn about education in the USA.
According to the syllabus, by the end of the course we will be able to discuss the following in the context of the United States:
- Central debates around the provision of education over time.
- Division of governance responsibilities (e.g., among federal, state, and local levels) for K-12 education.
- How K-12 education and tertiary education are funded.
- Structure and organization of the education system.
- Issues around the desegregation of schools.
- Definition and characteristics of the achievement gap.
- Essential elements of the federal policy known as No Child Left Behind.
- Student graduation requirements.
- The various forms of higher education which are available to students.
- Routes to teacher preparation and certification.
- Current teacher education reform initiatives.
We three first met at the info in the fall of 2012 at Fulbright Center with Program Coordinator Aki Kalliomäki. We got the briefing how to apply, and we applied. The briefing was good – we all got the grant. The second time we saw each other’s was in January at TOEFL language test. Next we met at the Orientation day and at the Fulbright Award Ceremony at the House of the Estates in May. There we decided to start a blog about our adventure in the USA.
Today we met in Helsinki and built this blog. We all will write here about what is happening to us during our stay at the University of Maryland. Learning new things about teaching and education and meeting new people will be exciting to us.
I am writing this on a bus back home to Nurmijärvi from our meeting in Helsinki. We all have done a lot of paper work for the application and after we got the grant we have done a lot more for the Fulbright organization and for the visa. I am excited and a little bit worried what will happen there so far away from home. I know we will have a good semester in the USA.
I really look forward to meet Inka and Maija and their families in Baltimore on August.
Before we start we want to thank all our colleagues, headmasters, the people who wrote recommendations for us and the personnel at the Fulbright Center. And of course our families who have supported us.