CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Students from West Virginia’s International School shared their Japanese culture with state Board of Education members on Tuesday by singing “Country Roads” in their native language as a prequel to International Education Week Nov. 14-18.
International Education Week, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State, exposes children to the history, geography, literature and arts of other cultures and the importance of learning a second language.
“As we prepare West Virginia students to meet the demands of a 21st century, global economy, it is imperative that they are ready to live in a diverse and tolerant society,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “I encourage every school in West Virginia to observe International Education Week to give children the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the world in which they live.”
The international school, a tuition-based Saturday program dating back to 1997, is located at Scott Teays Elementary School in Putnam County. The school was created as part of an incentives package designed to bring the Toyota plant and other international corporations to West Virginia. It helps prepare Japanese students for their successful re-entry to their homeland when they return to Japan.
Teachers and administrators are encouraged to use this week as a springboard to establish long-term goals and short-term celebrations focusing on global awareness in their schools. Suggested activities for International Week include inviting international guest speakers to address any number of topics, from the differences in education systems to holiday celebrations. Teachers can incorporate foreign languages into their classroom throughout the week or encourage reading books by a foreign author or about other cultures.
Schools also could form student focus groups to discuss a particular area of global awareness, such as diversity in American schools, global warming or the growing influence of China. They also can interview local businesses, clubs and churches about their activities in international issues. Other activities would be to facilitate a classroom-to-classroom connection with another country. Today’s technology allows computer users to communicate with friends from around the world almost instantaneously.
For more information, contact Robert Crawford with the Office of Title II, Title III and System Support at 304-558-0200, or the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.