Learning journey to prepare Sears, students as global citizens

The NEA Foundation, a public charity founded by educators for educators, named Erin Sears, a third-grade teacher at Willowbrook Elementary, as a 2019 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow. As a Fellow, Sears has been spending this school year in a peer learning network, building global competency skills with the goal of increasing the capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance.

The 2019 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows teach all grade levels and all subjects. Sears was chosen as the only representative from Iowa to join educators from around the country in a year-long learning experience to help students benefit from globally-minded education.  The Fellows reflect the diverse workforce of public education, which allows them to learn from each other and to bring global perspectives to a wide range of students.

“The NEA Foundation’s Global Learning Fellowship program includes the new cohort plus more than 250 Global Learning Fellowship alums, providing the Fellows with a dynamic, growing peer- learning community,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “As educators participate in the Fellowship, they become better at rethinking practices by experimenting with ideas, challenging concepts and learning with colleagues near and far.”

Over the course of a year, the NEA Foundation staff, partners, and field experts will support the Fellows as they immerse themselves in online coursework, webinars, and collegial study, including a two-day professional development workshop in the fall and a nine-day international field study in July.

Sears shared, “Last fall, I had the opportunity to travel to NEA Foundation headquarters in Washington, DC to meet the other fellows and start our coursework. I have continued to broaden my knowledge of globally competent education through online seminars, partnering with other fellows, and developing lessons that combine Iowa Core Standards, SEP curricular goals, and global perspectives. It’s been really inspiring. My fellowship year will culminate in a nine-day field study in South Africa this summer. I can’t wait to bring the experience of traveling to Africa back to share with our students in the classroom!”

The 2019 Fellows will use what they learn during the year to prepare their students for global citizenship. They will create valuable global lesson plans for their students that will be freely shared with educators across the nation and the world through open source platforms. They will also share their methods for globalizing instructional practice and advocate in their communities and beyond for global education.

Get to know all of the 2019 NEA Foundation Learning Fellows by visiting neafoundation.org.