TEACH (Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony)

After breakfast at the Khan el-Kalili, chess and hookah in a remote cafe, a walk through the ancient capital, dinner on the Nile, and a World Cup match with raucous fans, I was hooked. I now loved Egypt and any prior misconceptions were gone.

One of the best days of my life was spent in Cairo, Egypt and I believe all people, especially teachers, should have similar adventures. For teachers, world travel provides authentic learning experiences they can use to create engaging lessons on global content. The Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce happens to agree with me on this.

GoTeachr and the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce believe world travel:

  • Improves teacher performance
  • Boosts student achievement
  • Produces students that are open-minded, globally aware, and prepared for the global workforce

The Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce believes this so deeply they launched the TEACH (Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony) program in 2009. TEACH gives U.S. educators a chance to visit Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates and gain insight into the culture, challenges, and opportunities experienced by local educators. Outside of a $500 participation fee, TEACH covers all expenses and gives participants a multidimensional look at MENA (Middle East/North Africa) countries.

Snapshot:

Program Name- TEACH (Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony)

Sponsoring Organization- TEACH is administered by the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. It is funded by corporate sponsors such as GPIC, ExxonMobil, RasGas, the Bahrain Petroleum Company, Golden Pass LNG, ADMA-OPCO, and private donations.  

Program Type- Study abroad/professional development. TEACH sends American educators to MENA (Middle East/North Africa) countries for two and a half weeks to visit local schools, cultural sites, corporations, and embassies. The goal is to develop ongoing exchanges between American and MENA educators through which they can share best practices, dispel misconceptions, and produce students focused on solving global problems.   

Eligibility Requirements-

  1. Current educators in the United States
  2. Teachers (K-12), or administrators (K-12), or public school support professionals (K-12), or faculty of higher education institutions  
  3. Ability to travel to the Middle East in November for approximately 18 days.

Location(s)- The next TEACH program will travel to Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.   

Duration- TEACH lasts approximately two and a half weeks.

Funding Provided- While a $500 participation fee is required, this covers all expenses related to:

  • Transportation (before, during, and after the program)
  • Visas
  • Food
  • Lodging

Considering the flight alone averages well over $1000, TEACH provides incredible value to participants.

Dates- Travel to the Middle East occurs for about two and a half weeks in November.  

Deadline- TEACH applications are due in September. Applicants will be notified by mid-October.  

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Program Description:  

TEACH was founded in 2009 to improve teaching and learning in the United States and the Middle East. While in Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE, fellows visit schools, cultural sites, and embassies to dialogue with local educators. In these discussions, TEACH creates a platform for sharing professional practices that can be maintained through technology. On the 2015 trip, American educators visited the Hawar International School to discuss “math and ESL-focused student projects, teacher-to-teacher resource exchanges, and the sharing of teaching methodologies and integrated learning approaches.” By discussing and sharing best practices, TEACH helps fellows foster long-term educational connections and learn how to replicate student success seen in other parts of the world.  

TEACH also seeks to address the gap between traditional pedagogy and skills needed by the modern workforce. To accomplish this, participants meet international business leaders to discuss ways curriculum can better address the needs of major employers. Fellows visit MENA businesses to understand their regional, and often global, impact and the skillsets needed to maintain this impact. Consequently, TEACH helps educators understand, and more effectively teach, the competencies students need in the global workforce.

To address the gap between education and workforce skills, TEACH has recently adopted a strong focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). By selecting a diverse group of participants, TEACH fosters an inclusive and cross-curricular understanding of STEM topics. Conversations between U.S. and MENA educators focus on helping students understand how STEM can be used to solve world problems such food and water security. While in Bahrain, 2015 fellows visited Bahrain Polytechnic, an institution focused on developing vocationally skilled, career-ready graduates. During the visit, “fellows had the opportunity to witness technical and applied professional education classes…and collaborate on ideas for specialized, work integrated learning driven by industry.”

Finally, TEACH creates an immersive cultural experience for participants. Fellows gain a multidimensional view of the region that can be passed on to their students. Upon returning from their trip, participants share their experiences to eliminate misconceptions and emphasize similarities rather than differences. When these experiences inspire students to learn more about these countries, global citizens are created.

While TEACH activities vary, a typical day may include:

  • Visiting a local school for two to three hours and holding roundtable discussions with staff and students.
  • Meeting business leaders for lunch to discuss how pedagogy can better meet the needs of the modern workforce.  
  • Touring a site of major historical or cultural significance such as a local mosque.

 

Considerations:

Applicants should be aware that travel to the Middle East occurs for two and half weeks in November. While a portion of the trip will likely overlap with Thanksgiving break, participants will miss school days and have to coordinate these absences with their administrators.

Moreover, because TEACH is more than just a vacation to the Middle East, participants should be prepared for a time commitment beyond several weeks of foreign travel. Upon returning home, many past participants have developed on-going projects to share best practices and develop cross-curricular lessons with foreign colleagues.

How to Apply:

The application for TEACH is completed online and can be found on the website of the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. Though it is not yet posted for the 2016 trip, interested applicants can ask to be notified when it is. Simply email edu@bilateralchamber.org, provide your contact information, and ask to be notified when the TEACH application is available.  

Additional questions? Get them answered here:

If you have additional questions, or want to contact a representative from the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce, use the following information:

Website

http://bilateralchamber.org/series-programs/international-trade-programs/education/teach/

Email

edu@bilateralchamber.org – General contact email for the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce

Phone

1-713-880-8168 – Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce Offices

Address

P.O. Box 571870
Houston, Texas 77257-1870

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Sources:

Information on TEACH, either quoted or paraphrased, comes from interviews with Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce personnel, the organization’s website, and third-party articles on TEACH. Sources used include:

http://bilateralchamber.org/series-programs/international-trade-programs/education/teach/

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/building-cultural-bridges-develop-new-generation-leaders/

The 2015 TEACH Annual Report

 

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