Local teacher returns from study tour to Turkey
Tyler Tribute, 03.08.2012
Four Minnesota teachers, including Paul Tuszynski of RTR, recently returned fromTurkeyafter spending two weeks studying the country through the Turkish Cultural Foundation’s (TCF) Teacher Study Tour program, sponsored and organized by TCF in collaboration with the World Affairs Council of America and its nationwide chapters.
The teachers, fromChaskaHigh School, Jefferson Elementary in New Ulm, Washburn High School in Minneapolis and Tuszynski, will now start to work with the Minnesota International Center to develop lesson plans about Turkey for their classrooms, as well as a Fall 2012 Portraits of Turkey event series for the public. The teachers were part of a group of 26 teachers to take part in the third of three Study Tour trips this summer.
“Turkey has bewitched me — mind, body and soul,” said Megan O’Reilly of Washburn High School in Minneapolis. “I have learned so much about the country and culture that my classroom will never be the same and the experiences I’ve had will live with me forever.”
During their time in Turkey, the teachers met with fellow teachers and students, learning about the Turkish edcational system at various schools including Darussafaka, a school for orphaned children, the Terakki Foundation School in Istanbul and the Atakoy Elementary School in the village of Karacasu. The latter school has been adopted and is being supported by visiting American teachers from this and previous TCF Study Tours.
The teachers visited numerous cities and villages across the country, beginning in Istanbul, where they toured famous historical sites such as the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Spice Bazaar and theTopkapiPalace.
Other highlights of the trip included a visit to Bursa, the first capital of the former Ottoman Empire, where the teachers learned shadow puppet techniques to share with their students, and a trip toEphesus, where they toured the site of the Celsus Library, one of the richest libraries in the ancient world when built in 117 A.D. The teachers also visited the archeological excavation of Catalhoyuk, a 7,000-year-old Neolithic settlement, and toured the Cappadociaregion, known for its famed landscapes and ancient cave churches. Catalhoyuk just has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
With the return of the three tours this summer, TCF will have introduced 422 American educators to the history, culture and landmarks of Turkey since 2007. As part of the same collaborative program, nearly 3,000 teachers across the United Stateshave attended educational workshops on Turkey held by local World Affairs Councils.