Sixty science teachers from Korea, 20 each from the disciplines of chemistry, earth science and physics, are participating in a four-week intensive training curriculum beginning Aug. 11 at Colorado State University. The month-long professional development program is designed to teach foreign middle- and high-school instructors about innovative science teaching skills and effective classroom technology.
The program, supported by a $203,500 grant from the Korean National Institute for International Education Development, or NIIED, is sponsored by Colorado State’s Office of International Programs in collaboration with the university’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, or CSMATE, and the school’s Little Shop of Physics.
"The purpose of the professional development course is to provide Korean teachers with the latest information about science education in the United States and also with opportunities to witness innovative science teaching in American schools," said Jerome Bookin-Weiner, executive director of International Programs at Colorado State and organizer of the program. "It is both an honor and a statement of our university’s outstanding teaching, research and outreach that Colorado State was chosen to host this event."
Korea’s NIIED requested proposals from U.S. universities to provide programs that could introduce new and innovative science teaching skills and technology to Korean science teachers. Colorado State was selected to host the teacher-training project because of its excellent programs in science, the special opportunities afforded by Colorado’s natural environment and the university’s strong relationships with local schools.
During the program’s first two weeks, Korean teachers will participate in intensive instruction and hands-on laboratory training led by Colorado State faculty at CSMATE and the Little Shop of Physics. Participants also will take part in educational field trips to Lory State Park, the Discovery Center Science Museum in Fort Collins and Colorado State’s Environmental Learning Center. Field trips are designed to augment the laboratory curriculum and provide participants additional opportunities for field research and applied learning.
During the final two weeks of training, teachers will observe activities in approximately 30 junior and senior high classrooms in Fort Collins, Loveland and Fort Morgan to see first hand innovative science teaching in action. On the weekends, participants will have additional cultural and educational opportunities to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science, Centennial Village in Greeley and the Terry Bison Ranch in Wyoming.
"The program aims to improve the quality of teaching and to keep abreast with the latest knowledge of the subject area for secondary school teachers in Korea," said Bobae Park, program officer for NIIED. "In particular, it will harness teaching methodologies and practices and provide participants with first-hand experience of public education in the United States."
Colorado State’s Korean Students Association is assisting with the month-long program by providing graduate students to serve as interpreters and student assistants to visiting teachers. Youngsin Cho of Kangwon University in Korea, currently serving on sabbatical at the Little Shop, will assist with the program, both as an instructor and by conducting evaluation sessions with the participants. Cho is a graduate of Colorado State, having earned his doctorate in physics from the university.
CSMATE enhances science, mathematics and technology education at the undergraduate and K-16 levels. For more than a decade CSMATE has remained widely recognized for high-quality teacher professional development programs, innovative curricula, research on teaching and learning and its effective applications of technology.
The Little Shop of Physics is a traveling, hands-on K-12 outreach science program based in the Department of Physics at Colorado State. The experiments that form the basis of the educational program are developed by undergraduate students who also assist in presenting the program to more than 15,000 grades, middle and high school students each year in Colorado and neighboring states. The Little Shop is the only program of its kind in the United States.
For more information about the professional development program for Korean secondary school science teachers, contact Melissa Groom in the office of International Programs at (970) 491-5917.