UK students visit Georgia Southern and local K-8 classrooms
Georgia Southern University College of Education (COE) welcomed two students from Sheffield, England, in February as part of the College’s International Student Opportunity.
Libby Jones and Abbie Proud, students at Sheffield Hallam University, were the first international exchange students to complete placements in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System as a part of the COE’s exchange program. Both students participated at Hesse Elementary, a K-8 school in Savannah.
Jones and Proud are both second-year primary education students, preparing to teach students ages five to 11. They feel they gained valuable insight while watching an American classroom.
“One of the main things we loved is the independence of the children,” said Proud. “The teacher emphasizes it. Children at home (in England) lean on the teachers. There’s got to be a balance.”
“We will definitely take away the lessons of independence,” added Jones. “Encouraging children to have a go. The teacher kept reiterating, ‘You go ask three children before you can ask me.’ It was great. And each student had a role and responsibility.”
Jones and Proud’s instruction included introductions of themselves and English culture as well as spelling activities, interactive group discussion and a game called Kung Fu Panda Punctuation.
“We do actions for each punctuation (such as a period, a question mark, a comma) to the music from the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ movie,” explained Jones. “It makes it fun and interactive for the students.”
Jones and Proud also explained that being a part of this experience would help them to evaluate current methods utilized in their classrooms and consider new practices they have observed. Differences they noted right away included class sizes, curriculum and resources.
For them, Hesse K-8 is unique in that it is uniquely outfitted with innovative desks that double as whiteboards, one-on-one technology (where each student has their own digital device provided by the school) and unique seating arrangements such as spinning chairs, exercise balls, cushions and traditional seats that allow students to choose what will make them most comfortable.
The international students will return home with international perspective, and to positively impact children.
“For me, it’s making a change in society,” said Jones. “In that the children are going to be the members of society, and I think programming them to be a good citizen is key. They are going to learn something, but most importantly to be a genuine person and work hard.”
For more information about the College’s International Study Opportunity, visit https://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/student-teaching/iso/.
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