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New video promotes international co-operation

May 5, 2015 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor
The Alberta Teachers’ Association has produced a new video to promote its International Co-operation Program. It can be viewed on the Association’ s YouTube channel.

A new video promoting the Alberta Teachers’ Association’s International Co-operation Program is now ready for viewing and making the rounds at various Association events.

Created earlier this year, the eight-minute video aims to increase awareness of the Association’s various overseas endeavours, promote international work and explain how volunteering overseas affects teachers’ daily practice once they return to Alberta.

“We want people to become aware and informed, make changes and become involved,” says FranÇoise Ruban, the Association’s international officer.

The Association has been active internationally for years, with its flagship project — Project Overseas — beginning in 1964. This joint endeavour with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation provides professional assistance to teachers in developing countries. The Association now supports 11 projects with eight partners, with activities reaching various countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, as well as Afghanistan.

“We’re a well-kept secret, I think,” Ruban says.

Produced by Scott Parker of Picture Engine Editing, the video includes photos of international work taking place and numerous interview clips with project participants. Many of the teachers say they learn more than they teach while providing professional development to teachers in developing countries.

“I used my experiences from Africa this last summer in my teaching every single day with my students this year,” says teacher Carla Klassen, who visited Kenya as part of the Me to We project.

Several of the participants say their perspective changed when they witnessed and experienced teaching huge classes with no resources.

“You come back with a … renewed perspective about teaching, a renewed perspective about teaching in Alberta or Canada and just a real understanding of the importance of education generally,” explains ­Maurice ­Hollingsworth, a longtime participant with the Palliser Instructional Technology Project, which provides computers and technical expertise to schools in the Caribbean country of Dominica.

Not only do teachers’ perspectives change through their international experiences, but they also share the impact of their experiences with others around them, Ruban says in the video.

“The people who have experienced this can come back and feel enriched by this but also be able to enrich their school communities, their parent ­communities, their colleagues,” she says. “Our programs are making a ­difference.” ❚

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