Polk County Schools educators prepare for study visit to India

Published 3:08 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A group of Polk County Schools educators recently completed a study seminar about India and its role in the global economy at the North Carolina Center for South Asia Studies (NCCSAS) at Duke University.

The teachers included Jeanne Burgin, from Polk County Middle, Donna Hall and Shea White, from Tryon Elementary School, and Sergey Zalevskiy, from Polk County High, who were selected to attend a study visit to the country in early April. Social studies teachers Dawn Forward, from Polk County High. and Eric Eaton, from Polk County Middle School also attended the seminar.

The South Asia workshop offered a very valuable and different perspective on an often overlooked region of the world, India, says Eaton. We often hear about the Chinese economic miracle, but the workshop illuminated India as a place that holds an important position in the global economy.

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The program included information about India, its language, culture and religion as well as its education system as well as an online Skype session with Indian educators.

The rich and diverse cultures of India have proven to be one of its strengths and an example of how diversity is not always a weakness, says Eaton. Our students need to understand that they will be interacting and competing with a very diverse global society, of which India is a prime example. The workshop provided some very real world and first hand knowledge that will help me help my students understand better the complex nature of our increasingly interconnected world.

The study visit to India will be the first of several international study exchanges that Polk educators will participate in as part of a partnership with Rutherford County Schools and Isothermal Community College as well as with World View at the University of North Carolina and the NCCSAS.

The goal of the study visit is to help educators become leaders for global education by looking beyond the borders of North Carolina and experiencing a culture, country, and people different from their own. The educators will learn more about Indias education system while exploring significant cultural and historical sites.

The NCCSAS is a consortium made up of Duke, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It seeks to promote research and teaching in the languages and cultures of South Asia and to provide outreach as well as curricular resources to K through 12 teachers&bsp; and students.