On Wednesday, August 17, 2022, five Ball State University faculty and one alumnus, travelled to New Cairo, Egypt. Their goal was to learn more about Egypt’s culture and education system while sharing educational research, insights from American K-12 schools, and ideas for future implementation.
Over the 18 days the group was in New Cairo, Ball State instructors and El Rabwa Network’s educators discussed, shared, and explored the similarities and differences between practices. Some of the topics covered included strategies related to classroom management, 21st century skills, designing engaging learning environments, and teaching students with a second language. El Rabwa’s educators learned more about research that supports effective pedagogical practices to create safe, caring, and engaging learning environments for their students.
Andy Markelz, Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education, highlighted the challenges and rewards of an experience like this:
Preparing for professional development in a country and culture I had not visited before was both exciting and challenging. Once in Egypt, working with the teachers and sharing my expertise in best teaching practices was a joy. I was able to quickly see the passion the teachers have for their profession and students. The leadership team from El Rabwa was supportive of our professional and personal needs. We got to experience many wonderful aspects of Egyptian culture and we made great friends.
Rachel Geesa, Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership also had a rewarding experience during the trip:
Participants of the professional development training series were collaborative with their teams, reflective of past practices, creative in developing future plans, and receptive of new ideas. We look forward to participating in continued professional learning opportunities with El Rabwa faculty throughout this school year. The professional relationships and friendships we made during our time in Egypt helped make our experience during the 2.5 weeklong trip filled with a lifetime of memories.
Kate Shively, Associate Professor in the Department of Elementary Education looks forward to further collaboration with the educators she met:
I am very excited to see how teachers will draw upon what they learned this summer over the next year. I look forward to working with the teachers on a regular basis. I’m very grateful and appreciative of their kindness, care, hospitality as well as helping me learn some Arabic vocabulary.
Visiting Egypt for the first time is most certainly an experience I will forever cherish due to the teachers’ welcoming dispositions, the country’s rich cultural heritage, the delicious food, and the effort made by all to help make us feel at home.
A huge thank you to Kate Shively for providing the photos. Stay tuned to the Teachers College blog for more of Kate’s photos from the trip.