AFS presented its highly regarded teachers exchange program Educadores con Causa (Teachers with Purpose) at the UNESCO 2019 Forum on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 2-3 July. AFS National Directors Sherifa Fayez (Egypt) and Cecilia Vasquez (Guatemala) focused on how this immersive learning experience supported by online and facilitated intercultural learning opportunities broadens the perspectives of teachers  determined to globalize their classrooms. The UNESCO Forum, which focused on “learning and teaching for peaceful and sustainable societies” attracted 350 educators, experts, practitioners and policy-makers from 100 countries.

The Teachers With a Purpose  exchange program started in 2013, and since then 165 high school teachers, headmasters and counselors from 10 Latin American countries and more than 100 schools have participated. The program helps educators develop intercultural competence in themselves and provides them with insights and tools to foster this important global skills in their students. 

Educators receive scholarships from AFS to participate in this six-week program. The teachers spend a total of four weeks in their home country preparing for, and reflecting on, their intercultural experience (before and after their international exchange) by participating in the AFS Global Competence Certificate Program. This online intercultural learning modules is supported by facilitated discussion.

The program includes a 2-week exchange in which teachers enjoy a homestay with a local family and meeting teachers and students at a nearby school. 

Cecilia Vasquez (AFS Guatemala) and Sherifa Fayez (AFS Egypt)

At the Forum, UNESCO presented a new publication on education for sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship education (GCED), Up Close. The publication explores a holistic approach to education that emphasizes three dimensions of learning—the cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural— based on a recent UNESCO study that examined policies and curricula of ten countries. Forum sessions addressed if and how these three dimensions of ESD and GCED are reflected in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, highlighting improvements to be made and challenges to overcome.

For more information about AFS teacher exchanges, please contact Ana Carolina Cassiano.