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BCS Teachers Visit South Africa
BCS Teachers Visit South Africa
Posted on 07/25/2017
Sometimes, global education means reaching a little farther to find new ways to connect the classroom.

Cane Creek Middle School teachers Heather Alexander and Cammy Jacobelly had the incredible experience of visiting South Africa this summer as part of World View, a public service program from the University of North Carolina.

The two BCS teachers traveled to Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pilanesberg National Park and Gamer Reserve. They toured Ghandi’s Phoenix Settlement, which has become a symbol of peaceful resistance to injustice, and area schools that provide private, public, remedial, and residential care for orphaned and vulnerable children.

Buncombe County Schools encourages both our students and teachers to learn more about the world around them. We are expanding world language offerings for students and offering professional development to teachers. Partners like World View help our teachers explore other cultures and broaden their teaching tool boxes.

Below is a Q&A with Dr. Alexander:

1) What does global education mean to you?
To me, global education means empowering young people to be active participants in shaping a shared future of the world. It is important that students recognize that they are citizens of a much larger world, in addition to discovering their own unique cultural position within it. Global education is more than history lessons peppered with a bit of culture. It is a vibrant study of human society that includes the obvious history lessons in addition to topics of social justice, human rights, sustainable living, tolerance, and both self and cultural awareness.

2) Why did you want to be part of this South Africa trip?Cane Creek Middle School teachers Cammy Jacobelly, left, and Heather Alexander take in the view of the Indian Ocean from atop Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
I had two reasons for joining this trip, one personal and one professional. My personal interest in the trip was how it allowed a better understanding of the lives and works of Mandela and Gandhi. Each of these leaders continues to be very impactful on the world, and having a better grasp on their beginnings allows for a deeper understanding of their lasting impact. My professional interest in this trip was exploring the South African school systems (state and independent) for ideas I could bring back to benefit our students. I have previously visited schools in Japan, Great Britain, Honduras, and Mexico. Many of the schools in South Africa boast 100 percent graduation rates and university attendance rates of over 90 percent. Clearly something is working there and we need to be exploring that.

3) How will you use this global experience in your classroom lessons?
I am currently an exceptional children's teacher in math and language arts. In the past I had done a unit using Beverly Naidoo's novella, Journey to Jo'berg. Now, I am equipped to supplement that unit with my own observations, experiences, and images of the setting of the story. This will greatly enrich the unit for students. In relation to my math classes, I was able to experience teaching models for discovery learning of mathematical concepts that I was not familiar with before. I am currently working to update several of my activities to incorporate these new, engaging practices. I was also able to make connections with classroom teachers in South Africa who were interested in partnering our students together on various topics, especially using writing and public speaking.

4) Why is global education important for students?
We hear it so much that it becomes almost cliché, but we truly do live in a global society. Our students must be able to communicate and understand on a global level. Students must move toward better understanding that decisions made by individuals or nations in one area can have significant impacts on both local and world environments, economies, securities, politics, and much more.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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