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 West Virginia prepares its children to meet the demands of a 21st century, global economy, it is imperative that students are prepared to live in a diverse and tolerant society if they are to succeed,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “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.”
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.
Schools are encouraged to publicize their commemorative activities. The first 20 schools that submit an online summary of activities will receive complimentary international education resource materials.
For more information, contact Amelia Davis Courts, executive director of the West Virginia Department’s International Schools & English as a Second Language programs, at (304) 558-2691 or visit http://wvconnections.k12.wv.us/internationalweek.html.
Additional suggestions are available on the following links: http://wvde.state.wv.us/tt/2006/06-int-activities.doc or http://wvde.state.wv.us/tt/2006/06-int-link.doc