Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 19
find placements for international teaching
interns, West says. Even so, some Australian
educators already welcome international
Adam Willis is one of them. The Rozelle
Public School teacher hosted two interns
from America, one in 2009 and one in 2010.
He did so in part because of his own over-
seas practicum in Fiji in 2006.
'I find that having an intern from another
country, particularly the US, is a great asset,
as they come with a different set of expe -
riences and levels of expertise that they
are able to share with the students,' Willis
says. 'This exposes the students, and me,
to a variety of teaching styles and learning
experiences. I also find that the classroom
students like to "teach" the international
interns about Australia and get a real kick
out of showing what they know about their
Willis says he's benefitted from hosting
the interns in terms of his own teacher edu-
cation. They've taught him plenty about the
history of the indigenous peoples of the US,
for example, but also about school struc-
tures and curriculum. 'I find that the inter-
national internship offers two-way learn-
ing,' he says.
What about drawbacks? Willis says he
hasn't seen any so far, in part because of
modern communication. He was able to
contact Kelsey Smith, his 2010 intern from
Sweet Briar College, through email and
social networking in the months before she
came to Australia so both were prepared for
her three-month stint.
'I've certainly recommended accepting
international interns to my colleagues in my
local area,' Willis says. 'I believe that being
able to share what you know, particularly
with another teaching professional from
another country, strengthens the teaching
profession, not only on a local scale, but
globally. I hope to have the opportunity
to repeat this experience with yet another
intern from America this year.'
Willis praised Smith in his evaluation of
her internship and described how her efforts
supported the local curriculum.
'During her internship Kelsey developed
a brilliantly stimulating unit of work enti-
tled "My Great American Road Trip." This
integrated unit of work linked with the New
South Wales Social Science outcomes for
world cultures as part of a country study.
The students learned about each of the 50
states that make up the US in preparation
for a whole-school multicultural exhibition.
This culminated in the presentation of the
students' work and newly acquired knowl-
edge to a gathering of students, teachers and
parents who were all very impressed by the
level of deep understanding the students had
For Smith, interning in Australia put
teaching in a different light. It gave her new
ideas about how classrooms and schools can
function. Most significantly, she learned
it's possible to teach many things without
depending on textbooks.
'It may be different for every school
system, but the only textbook I used while
teaching (in Australia) was for reading short
stories,' she says. 'There's so much more stu-
dents can gain outside of a textbook, and
I've been able to apply that in my learning,
as well as in my practicum work in the class-
room this past year.' T
Pictured, Rozelle Public School's 'My
Great American Road Trip' integrated
unit of work linked with the New South
Wales Social Science outcomes.
Stacey Hartmann is editor of the
GlobaLinks NewsWire, an online news
site on international education topics
and the AustraLearn, AsiaLearn and
EuroLearn study abroad programs of
GlobaLinks Learning Abroad.
w ww.globalinksabroad.org/ TeachAbroad
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