Keller schools host Korean teachers to enhance understanding

02/03/2014 7:59 PM

02/03/2014 8:00 PM

Keller schools and families are playing host to teachers from Korea to share information on culture and educational strategies.

Fourteen Korean teachers were set to arrive on Monday to spend two weeks at 11 KISD campuses, work with American teachers and stay in Keller area host homes. The foreign educators are part of the Fulbright American Studies Institute for Korean Secondary School Teachers of English. The institute is conducted annually by the Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC), a group of Texas universities that work together to improve global education.

“It’s just a great opportunity for our students and our teachers to meet with people from another country and learn about another culture,” said Gary Mantz, KISD director of human resources.

The goals of the program are to enhance cultural understanding, improve English as a second language instruction and develop relationships between Korean and American educators.

The schools hosting Korean educators are Bette Perot Elementary, Bluebonnet Elementary, Freedom Elementary, Lone Star Elementary, Park Glen Elementary, Shady Grove Elementary, Trinity Meadows Intermediate, Hillwood Middle, Keller Middle, Central High and Timber Creek High schools.

Juanita Duenez Lazo, a Keller district resident and a recently retired faculty member at Texas Woman’s University, suggested the program to KISD educators. As a part of the TIEC, Lazo and TWU officials had been working with Denton schools to host Korean teachers for six years. This year there are 35 Korean teachers coming to Texas for the institute, with Keller hosting the largest number. Denton will host six teachers and others will be hosted by districts around the state.

Lazo said that the institute relies on host schools, American mentor teachers and host homes. She was pleased that KISD educators embraced the program so readily. Most of the Koreans will stay with KISD employees and some with student families.

The Korean teachers will participate in family activities and schools will invite them to events while the foreign educators will teach students and staff about Korean culture and educational practices.

The American mentor teachers will work with them while they are here, Lazo said, and the goal is for the parties to continue communicating via email after the trip.

Steve Hurst, principal at Lone Star Elementary School, said the cultural exchange will benefit his students and staff.

“Our world is getting smaller and smaller with the global economy,” Hurst said. “The more we can learn about each other is just a huge help.”

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