Robert Walker, social studies teacher at Academy of the Canyons, just returned from a two-week trip to Morocco, as part of the Teachers for the Global Classroom Initiative.
It’s been four days since Academy of the Canyons teacher Robert Walker returned from Morocco, and he said that he is still trying to process the two-week trip.
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Walker, who teaches social studies at AOC, was selected as one of 72 teachers nationwide to be part of the U.S. Department of State’s Teachers for the Global Classroom Initiative, which involves a symposium in Washington, D.C. and an online course, in addition to international travel.
He left for Morocco on March 8 and returned on Saturday, March 22.
It was the first of several Global Classroom Initiative trips that will take place this spring and summer.
Walker spent his time in the Moroccan cities of Rabat and Goulmima, meeting the locals, visiting important cultural landmarks and teaching in classrooms.
“We got a chance to see the inside of Morocco’s education system,” he said.
Walker was struck by the similarities between American and Moroccan students and the similar challenges that teachers face in both countries, he said.
“They’ve got concerns about literacy,” he said,” getting their students reading and writing up to a college level.”
But there were also differences that Walker noticed.
Moroccan students graduate high school with exposure to four languages, including their native dialect of Arabic, standard Arabic, French and some English.
He also said that the push for gender equality is a more recent initiative in Morocco–only about 10 years old.
But they are moving in the right direction, Walker said.
“In some cases, teachers are worried that their focusing so much on educating girls, that they are neglecting their male population,” he said.
During his travels, Walker maintained a blog for his students to read and comment on.
A lot of their questions focused on culture, gender relations, the local cuisine and what Moroccan students did during their free time, Walker said.
Now that he is back in the United States, he wants to maintain the connections he made in Morocco and give his students a taste of global education.
“…I really want to make sure that I start including…ways for my students to work with students in Morocco,” Walker said.
Some issues, like global warming and sex trafficking, affect the entire world, he said, and “there’s no way for us to confront those issues by ourselves.”
Walker’s experience teaching Moroccan students helped him learn to find commonality and communication across cultural barriers, he said.
“If I could find a way to get (my students) to have that kind of experience, I think they’re not only going to be more global learners, but I think they’re going to better prepared citizens,” Walker said.
Walker will continue to maintain his blog as he processes his trip and what it taught him.
To read about his experiences, click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News