2019 Taiwan-US teacher fellows program

Building on its 2018 Taiwan Teacher Fellows Program, EngageAsia plans to conduct a 2019 program that will bring a small cohort of select Taiwanese teachers to the United States.

The program aims to help deepen understanding between Taiwanese and American teachers as well as expose them to cutting-edge teaching methodologies designed to improve their classroom teaching.

Methodologically, the 2019 Taiwan-US teacher Fellows Program will focus on integrating art into science and technology through the methodology of project-based learning and Design Thinking. Through a program that will use New York City as a laboratory, participants will learn about the diverse culture of the city while also engaging in a deep understanding of the way in which art can be benefit and inform STEM related subjects.

Much has been proclaimed about the need for more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related activities in our schools. The logic is simple: the wave of future economic prosperity lies in a workforce that is well-versed in rising job markets in these fields.

STEMʼs weakness, however, is that creativity and innovation are often missing and these skills are essential to the ability of students to apply their knowledge in real-life situations that benefit society. STEM alone does not foster the essential nutrients of creation and ingenuity, which can only happen through application of lessons learned.

By adding art into STEM subject matter, it allows students of science, technology, engineering and math to integrate ideas through the arts. This transforms STEM to STEAM to the next level: it allows students to connect their learning in these critical areas together with arts practices, elements, design principals, and standards to provide the whole pallet of learning at their disposal. STEAM removes limitations and replaces it with wonder, critique, inquiry, and innovation.

The 2019 program consists of a cultural research “Melting Pot Project” as well as professional development “STEAM workshops” in New York City for approximately two weeks in the summer of 2019.

The American and Taiwanese teachers engaged in the Melting Pot Project will experience the project-based learning (PBL) method through pre-trip research program planning, during the trip, as well as via post-trip sessions and special workshops.

The teachers will create videos on their particular research projects and those videos will be edited by the teachers to create teaching material and implemented their experiences in their classroom.

For EngageAsia, we believe art is a way of thinking, a state of mind, and the way we plan to help teachers understand how art can link to STEM is through neuro-scientific approaches. The teachers will create experimental STEAM curriculum based on their teaching subjects. Design Thinking methodology will lead teachers from pre-trip inquiry to post-trip implementation plans.

2018 US-Taiwan teacher fellows program

Two US teachers and nine Taiwanese teachers, who will collectively impact over 1,000 students over the next academic year, took part in EngageAsiaʼs 2018 US-Taiwan Teachers Fellows Program.

The two teachers selected as the first EngageAsia Fellows were Aimee Ferguson, 3rd Grade Teacher, Jefferson Elementary School, New Rochelle, NY and Tania Riccoboni, Middle School Art Teacher, North Rockland Central School District. Nine Taiwanese teachers were selected to engage with the American teachers in a Design Thinking workshop that was held in Taipei.

The program had five parts, pre-departure research, an Individual Cultural Research program in Kaohsiung, a Design Thinking workshop in Taipei, multimedia curricula development, and classroom implementation. Both US teachers engaged in extensive pre-trip research to learn generally about Taiwan and also to select specific research topics. During their time in Kaohsiung, EngageAsia developed tailor-made agendas for each teacher to help them learn deeply about the research topic they chose to investigate. In Taipei, both US teachers engaged in an intensive Design Thinking workshop and cultural activities with Taiwanese teachers to form relationships.

Post-trip, teachers began working on curricular development so that lessons learned in Taiwan could be shared with students. Both US teachers presented at a workshop hosted by Global Kids in NYC on October 25 and engaged in a curriculum and video editing workshop in December at Mercy College. Teachers will work on their curriculum throughout the winter and spring of 2019 and also be engaged in preparing for the summer 2019 Taiwan-US Teacher Fellows Program.

Photos from our 2018 Program:

Elgin heinz outstanding teacher Award

EngageAsia administers the Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award, which is funded by the United States-Japan Foundation. The Award recognizes exceptional teachers who further mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese. The 2019 award will was awarded to one teacher in the humanities category (the 2020 award will focus on Japanese language). The award consists of a $2,500 monetary award and a $5,000 grant provided by the United States-Japan Foundation. It is named in honor of Elgin Heinz for his commitment to educating students about Asia as well as for the inspiration he has provided to the field of pre-college education.

Eligibility Requirements

The award is open to current full-time K-12 classroom teachers of any relevant subject in the United States. There are two award categories, one in the humanities and one in Japanese language. The 2019 award will only be open to candidates in the humanities category.

Previous award recipients often have over 10 years of teaching experience and have been engaged in teaching their students about Japan for a substantial period of time.  Candidates must demonstrate sustained commitment to improving mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese, and must have made a significant contribution to enhancing students’ knowledge of Japan.

Applicants for the Japanese language category must have excellent command of the Japanese language and may be contacted by members of the selection committee to verify this.

Nomination Procedures

Applicants for the Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award need not be nominated to apply. However, the Foundation is always seeking to encourage the nation’s top educators to consider applying for the award. Therefore, we welcome nominations of individuals qualified to apply for the Award.

Letters of Nomination should briefly highlight the qualifications of the candidate and must include his/her name, contact information, and indicate the school at which the candidate currently teaches.

EngageAsia, which is administering the award, will accept Letters of Nomination at any time and will inform candidates that they have been nominated for the Award. Those nominated must submit a full application as indicated below.

Nominators should keep in mind the deadline for applications is in early May. Therefore, it is recommended that nominations be submitted by early March in order to provide potential candidates the time needed to compile their applications.

Letters of Nomination should be e-mailed to EngageAsia at: info@engageasia.org

Application Procedures & Deadlines

Applicants must submit the following documents by May 15, 2019 to be considered (please note: all materials must be submitted in one PDF document via e-mail to EngageAsia, the award administrator, at: info@engageasia.org):

1. Cover Sheet that includes the following information:

  • Full name and home address

  • School name and address

  • E-mail and telephone contact information

  • The award category for which you are applying: Japanese Language or Humanities

  • The subjects and grades you currently teach

  • A list of Japan-related programs in which you have participated

  • Names and contact information for those submitting letters of support

2. A narrative (not to exceed three (3) pages typed, double spaced) describing your efforts to further mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese through your classroom teaching. Please describe your classroom atmosphere and your approach to teaching about Japan or Japanese Language. Applicants should also highlight leadership positions held and detail how they have impacted other educators locally and/or nationally.

3. A two-page project proposal and budget describing how you would use the award’s $5,000 project funds to enhance understanding of Japan at your school or in your school district (project funds are typically awarded to the awardees’ school and, since these funds are awarded as a grant, the Foundation reserves the right to amend this portion of the application). For example, such funds could be used to purchase curriculum material on Japan, for field trips to Japan-related organizations, to bring in guest speakers on Japan, for Japanese software, etc.

4. Three letters of support from individuals or organizations familiar with you and your teaching on Japan. A letter from a student explaining how your efforts affected his/her perceptions and understanding of Japan is permissible as a letter of support. One letter must come from the school’s principal or vice principal and must express support for your project proposal in addition to supporting your candidacy for the award. Support letters can be sent under separate cover or included with all application materials.

5. A professional resume
The application should be submitted in one PDF electronically to: info@engageasia.org

Deadline for 2019

Complete applications must be received by EngageAsia on or prior to May 15, 2019 to be considered for the 2019 award.

Review & Selection

A national selection committee administered by EngageAsia will review complete applications received by or on May 15, 2019. The selection committee consists of leaders in the field of education about Japan. The award winners will be announced in the summer of 2019.

Selection Committee

Ms. Patience Berkman

Chair, History Department, Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart
2002 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient (Humanities Category)

Dr. Lucien Ellington

Editor, Education About Asia
Director, Asia Program
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Mr. David Janes

Senior Advisor for Institutional Development
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)

Mr. Christopher Livaccari

Upper Elementary School Principal, International School of the Peninsula
Senior Advisor, Asia Society

Ms. Margaret Lonzetta

Independent Consultant, International Studies and Global Education

Ms. Mari Maruyama

Executive Director, Oberin Gakuen Foundation

Mr. Norman Masuda

Former Instructional Supervisor of World Languages, Palo Alto High School
2002 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient (Japanese Language Category)

Mr. Gary Mukai

Director, Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education

Ms. Lynn Parisi

Director, Program for Teaching East Asia
University of Colorado at Boulder

Ms. Leslie (Birkland) Roberts

Japanese Language Consultant
2005 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient (Japanese Language Category)

Mr. Michael Rubin

Former Director, NYC Public Schools Japanese Language Program

Additional information is available on the United States-Japan Foundation’s website here.

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