Montana State University

Sixteen teachers from around the world are in Bozeman as part of new MSU grant

January 28, 2009


MSU education instructor Joan Cook, right, assists Rahlal Ajbilou, a teacher from Morocco, with a multimedia project about his native country in a Reid Hall media lab. Ajbilou is one of 16 secondary school teachers from around the world in Bozeman this spring as part of a new educational enrichment program at MSU funded by the U.S. State Department. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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Sixteen secondary teachers from around the world are in Bozeman this semester as participants in a U.S. State Department educational enrichment program at Montana State University.

MSU is one of just five universities in the country selected as U.S. site for the International Leadership in Education Program. This is the first year that MSU has been selected for the four-year-old program, which is funded by a $150,000 State Department grant. MSU was selected by the International Research and Exchanges Board.

Other institutions selected as ILEP sites are the University of Minnesota, Kent State University, Clemson and Northern Kentucky University.

"MSU and the Bozeman community is so honored to have this select group of educators on our campus and in our Bozeman public schools," said Norman Peterson, MSU vice provost for international education. "We are excited to learn as much from them as they do from us in the coming months."

Janelle Rasmussen, program director in the MSU Office of International Programs, said 78 secondary teachers from the Near East, South Asia and Southeast Asia were selected to participate in the program this year, with 16 assigned to MSU. The teachers hail from Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela. In their home countries the participants teach a variety of specialties ranging from English as a Foreign Language, science, social studies, physics and math.

Rasmussen said during the course of the next four months, the ILEP teachers will take courses at MSU in teaching methodologies, curriculum development, conflict resolution and the use of technology in the classroom. Each ILEP teacher will also have an eight-week internship with fellow teachers in the Bozeman Public Schools to learn leadership skills and gain experience that can shape their home teaching environments. Each has been assigned teaching mentors at Bozeman secondary schools, including Bozeman High School and Sacajawea and Chief Joseph Middle Schools. In addition, the teachers will participate in service projects in the community and take fieldtrips throughout the area.

Rasmussen said Michael Brody, an MSU professor of education, is the local ILEP academic director and Joyce Hannula, a teacher at Bozeman High School, is the local ILEP internship coordinator.

"The intent is that these teachers will take what they learn back to their home countries and teach others," Rasmussen said. She added that nearly all the visiting teachers are eager to learn about how American teachers use technology in their classrooms.

"These teachers were selected from hundreds of applicants so they represent the best of their countries," Rasmussen said. "They're very outgoing and a wonderful group that the community will see (in Bozeman)."

Rasmussen said the ILEP teachers will be at MSU until they return to their home countries on May 18.

Janelle Rasmussen (406) 994-7602, jrasmussen@montana.edu