Iowa State's College of Education receives U.S. Department of State grant for Turkish student teacher internship

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's College of Education has received a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to bring 30 Turkish education students from Bilkent University, Ankara, to intern with Iowa teachers and students as part of a cultural exchange and student teaching program.

The Turkish graduate students will be in the United States from January to March 2005. During their visit, they will work with teenagers in central Iowa schools, observe educational practices in the Midwest, interact with Iowa State students and compare teaching practices and philosophies between the two countries.

Dale Niederhauser, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction and in the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching, said the eight-week program includes working with mentor teachers in area schools and Iowa State faculty members to study current instructional practices, learn how to apply new educational technologies in the classroom and examine multicultural issues.

The Turkish interns will teach biology, mathematics, history, English and language arts in middle schools and high schools, Niederhauser said, using technology such as multimedia computers, video-based equipment and the Internet to develop coursework.

"The goal of this internship is for the Turkish student teachers to create meaningful educational and personal experiences in which they'll share their culture and learn about American culture in a way that heightens mutual respect and understanding," Niederhauser said.

Part of the learning experience, Niederhauser said, is for the visiting students to experience Iowa's tradition of locally controlled education.

"The Turkish student teachers will have opportunities to attend school board meetings, faculty meetings, and parent-teacher organization meetings," Niederhauser said.

The students also will attend cultural and community events and participate in a Turkish Student Day celebration that will include traditional food, music and dance.

"By the end of this project," Niederhauser said, "the Turkish student teachers will have studied and experienced the culturally pluralistic nature of the United States and have a good understanding of its implications for schooling. And, Iowa State students and central Iowa youth will have a greater understanding of one of the most modern societies of a predominantly Muslim nation."