Summer Institute Projects to Bring Awareness of Caribbean Issues to North American Classrooms Santo Domingo, July 11, 2011
In addition to enriching educators’ own knowledge of the theme of this year’s PIER Summer Institute for Educators-- Colonial Latin America-- the educators participating in the trip were charged for the first time with a very important task: designing educational products to be shared with other educators around the country to expand the number of classrooms and students benefitting from the information gathered in the Institute.
In order to aide participants in achieving this task, the Institute employed a special “Summer Institute Scholar” charged with advising the other educators on the pedagogical application of the material gleaned in the classroom. The Summer Institute Scholar, Barbara D’Ambruoso, participated in both the campus and field portions of the Institute and held both group and one-on-one sessions with participants to help guide them in the designing a replicable classroom plan implementable in both their own classrooms and those across the country. The top four products will be selected and published on the Programs in International Education Resources (PIER) website by the end of the year.
Some of the topics on which educators are focusing their classroom plans include: Colonial architecture and city planning, the power of the sugar industry in creating socio-economic structures, the manifestation of Dominican-Haitian relations and attitudes in children and youth, the search for identity amongst Caribbean immigrant populations and the operations of the traditional “encomienda,” to name only a few. The week’s agenda of activities organized by InteRDom provided more insight into these topics, as well as to how colonialism is reflected in Dominican identity and the social and economic development of the country and its relationship to neighboring Haiti.
InteRDom’s desire to aide educators in the development of their final classroom products manifested physically in the creation of the “Educator’s Journal,” a tool designed to provide educators with a portable reference for taking organized notes and jotting down ideas and questions to help them relate the activities of each day to their educational products. The journals provided information about the agenda, networking, and tips for how to get around the city, in addition to spaces for notes, important and interesting facts, observations, further questions, applicability and the connection between colonial and contemporary themes.
The Summer Institute for Educators is a series of intensive professional development sessions that serve as a continuing educational training tool for in-service and pre-service K-12 and university-level teachers. It is sponsored by Programs in International Education Resources (PIER), The Council on Latin American & Iberian Studies at Yale (CLAIS), the MacMillan Center, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU (CLACS) and the U.S. Department of Education through a Title VI National Resource Center grant.
This program responds to InteRDom and Global Foundation for Democracy and Development’s objective to increase the quality and quantity of Caribbean topics being presented in international classrooms. The initiative will also serve to fortify InteRDom and GFDD’s commitment to providing networking, exchange and development opportunities to the Dominican Diaspora, as many of the participants in the Summer Institute have expressed their desire to use topics in the field portion to better serve and relate to the Diaspora students that they teach.
The internship program, InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.