Representatives from The University of Texas at Austin's UTeach-Liberal Arts teacher training program will introduce Saudi educators to the program's unique approach to teacher preparation during a visit to Saudi Arabia on April 17-21.
UTeach-Liberal Arts representatives will be part of a joint delegation with the Austin-based Alhambra-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit that promotes international education initiatives in the Persian Gulf region.
The delegation will seek to establish partnerships with Saudi educational organizations and offer expertise in educational consulting, teacher training, continuing education programs and international accreditation. During the visit UTeach-Liberal Arts representatives will also participate in the 2012 International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education in Riyadh.
"We hope to assist in creating an experience-based approach to teacher preparation," says Richard Flores, senior associate dean of academic affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and director of the UTeach-Liberal Arts program. "This will also be a good opportunity to build professional networks with Saudi educators and other educators in the region."
UTeach-Liberal Arts is a nationally recognized professional middle and high school teacher preparation program for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students who plan to teach English, languages other than English or social studies. The innovative four-semester program aims to transform secondary school teacher certification with a balanced, practical and theoretical approach to teacher preparation.
"In recent years, Saudi Arabia has made great strides toward becoming a regional and global educational leader," says Anjum Malik, co-founder and managing partner of the Alhambra-U.S. Chamber. "To get to the next level, educational stakeholders in the Kingdom must strive to meet and exceed global standards in key areas such as teacher training, curriculum development and international accreditation. Our organizations have the experience and knowledge to serve as valuable resources for organizations and institutions seeking to make that transition."
The Alhambra-U.S. Chamber promotes educational, cultural and commercial dialogue between the United States and other nations, engaging in a wide range of consulting, training and partnership activities to support that vision. While the Chamber's mission is global in scope, much of its activity has involved the 57 Muslim-majority nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, with a special focus on educational consulting and teacher training in the Gulf region.
UTeach-Liberal Arts and Alhambra are promoting a variety of teacher-training workshops that include active learning, effective teaching strategies, classroom management and optimum classroom design.
"Well-trained teachers have the instructional tools to create student-centered, active learning classrooms. When students become successful learners, everyone wins," says Rose Potter, UTeach-Liberal Arts clinical professor. "That includes students, their teachers, their parents, the community, employers, the nation as a whole and ultimately our shared world."