Whirling dervishes, the ancient halls of Hagia Sophia, Byzantine architecture, and Turkish Cuisine is what Alice Davidson will spend her summer experiencing.
The history teacher at Episcopal High School has been selected by the Turkish Cultural Foundation Teacher Study Tour. She along with 47 other teachers will spend two weeks learning about the rich culture and history of Turkey while touring cities around the western asian country.
“I'm just really excited,” Alice said.
“I lived in China for several years and I know that my students react quite differently and are much more engage and I am too when I talk about things that I have a personal experience with. When I can give anecdotal stories, it makes the lessons that more interesting. Being able to go on this trip will really effect the things I teach about.”
The Turkish Cultural Foundation’s Teacher Study Tours are part of a nationwide educational program on Turkey, called Spotlight on Turkey. The program is funded in partnership with the World Affairs Councils of America.
Teachers are selected after a rigorous process, submitting recommendations, a lesson plan, and an essay on how they hope to benefit from the tour and bring their experience back to the classroom.
Each participant will attend workshops and be immersed in Turkish history and culture. Davidson is the teacher sponsor for the World Affairs Council at Episcopal High School and keeps her students engaged with the World Affairs Council of Houston. She looks forward to the opportunity to share her experiences in Turkey with her students, making the classroom environment more engaging and interesting.
“There is no better way for a teacher to get excited about teaching a subject than having actually been there. Our teachers describe it as a life-changing experience to walk in the footsteps of St.Paul, commemorate the great losses of WWI on the battlegrounds of Gallipoli, or see clay formed into pottery in the age-old traditions of Anatolia,” said Meltem Ercan, Program Coordinator for the Turkish Cultural Foundation.
“Through the Teacher Study Tours, we aim to to enrich the international classroom experience for American school children and build bridges between American and Turkish educators, and through them, between students.”
In the bigger picture, the Turkish Foundation hopes to foster respect and understanding between nations through their educational programs.
“TCF believes that international exchanges are a critical mechanism for building a community of understanding and respect between different cultures and countries worldwide, and we are pleased to play a part in this effort,” Ercan said.
“Unfortunately, Turkey is still not known widely in America, particularly outside of the large cities. Turkey receives almost no or only passing reference in the American school system. What we hope the teachers take home is that Anatolia is the homeland of many civilizations, which have made fundamental contributions to humanity, and that Turkey played a key role in history and is poised to play a key role in its region and the world today.”