Patrick Whelan

Social Studies Teacher

Patrick Whelan, Teachers for Global Classrooms, 2016, Morocco

Program

Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program

Home city and state

Bradenton, Florida

Destination

Morocco

Why I applied

I heard how great the Fulbright TGC [Teachers for Global Classrooms] Program was. The program is so comprehensive, which drew me. Also, about 10 years before I participated, we started a global education initiative at our school. But we had reached a point in its lifecycle where our program had plateaued, and we needed to shake things up.

What I did

I’ve done some other international trips before, but the trip to Morocco for Fulbright TGC was profound in terms of my teaching. It was so much more than I had expected. I was deployed to the southern part of the country, on the edge of the Western Sahara. The hospitality was overwhelming. My host school was ambitious, and the students wanted to make waves.

I co-delivered a professional development workshop for the region’s English teachers with material on increasing student agency, teaching techniques, disciplinary aspects, and community building. I was really impressed with how well they had received us. They were definitely on par with our peers back home.

What changed

I’m much more fluent in global education and how to apply it. I did a unit on Islam and gender, which included how women build their identity and sense of agency. There was an African trade lesson where I showed images from Morocco, its history, and its relation to the rest of the world. I’ve been weaving these different issues together in my classroom.

And my school’s global education has bumped up to the next level. We’re doing more sister school visits with other countries, including Argentina, Denmark, and Japan. We also now have a global scholars distinction in our school. Seniors can build a portfolio and be recognized for pressing forward in global education. We have 8to 10 students in our first cohort.

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