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New Program Brings Jamaican Education Students to Fisher

February 22, 2018

This winter, a new partnership between the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education at St. John Fisher College and Shortwood Teacher’s College in Kingston, Jamaica came to fruition as students from both institutions spent a month experiencing the campuses and cultures of their international peers.

Nigel Bowie, a student from Shortwood College in Jamaica, student-teaches at East Rochester High School.

Tanielle Stephen and Nigel Bowie, third-year students at Shortwood, and Fisher undergraduate Alicia Murrey along with graduate students Dan Rogers and Stacy Ruby are members of the inaugural group to participate in the exchange, the first of its kind for the School of Education.

More than a year in the making, the School of Education leadership had been exploring avenues for international student experiences, and met with several institutions in Jamaica while visiting through the Jamaican Advantage Thru Sports for Youth camp. After meeting with officials at Shortwood, a 132-year-old teacher training college, the two institutions worked to create a partnership that could focus on field experiences, offering students a chance to teach in schools during their visit.

“The exchange can allow students to see how another school system works and see the similarities in education across cultures,” said Dr. Susan Hildenbrand, associate dean of the School of Education, who was instrumental in launching the partnership.

Dr. Christopher Clarke, Shortwood’s principal, agreed, adding that the rich cultural experiences afforded through international exchanges can make students more marketable as they graduate and pursue teaching positions.

Tanielle Stephens works with a student at East Rochester High School.

Tanielle Stephens works with a student at East Rochester High School.

Stephens and Bowie are both double majoring in education and mathematics. While in Rochester, they had the opportunity to student-teach math at East Rochester High School in the classroom of Fisher alumnus Natalie Tuites ’15.

“I wanted to come to Rochester to be in a different classroom setting and experience diversity in a different way,” said Stephens, who taught algebra to ninth, tenth, and eleventh graders while at East Rochester. “It’s opened my eyes to see how students may learn differently and how to incorporate different tools so that everyone can learn.”

Both students said they’ve learned a lot about how to integrate technology into lesson plans.

“I like the technology,” Bowie explained, noting the use of apps like Kahoot! and other online resources teachers used to deliver lesson plans and assess student learning. “It provides more teaching time and students are able to focus on the content, rather than copy down the lecture.”

They also sat in on classroom management and diversity courses in the School of Education, and had the opportunity to tour Victor Central School District.

But, the visit to Fisher wasn’t all work. The two students were able to enjoy snow and experience some uniquely Rochester attractions, including trips to the Strong Museum of Play, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Public Market, and Dinosaur BBQ. They also had the chance to immerse themselves in life at Fisher by attending basketball games, eating in the dining hall, and dancing for a bit during the Teddi Dance for Love.

“It’s a great opportunity for Tenielle and Nigel, but it’s also great for the Fisher community,” said Hildenbrand. “Anytime we have the opportunity to meet students from different cultures it benefits everybody—professors and students—and we hope to grow this exchange.”