BLACKSBURG, Va. – A recent conference brought Europe to a group of Virginia teachers.
Twenty-five educators from eight different states came to Virginia Tech to learn about Europe and the European Union.
The middle and high school teachers learned the importance of collaboration among all stages of the educational system as they prepare young people for the global challenges of the 21st century.
They had some fun too, which included dancing.
One of the conference’s activities included learning about the Irish and West African roots and connections of Appalachian music and dance.
In a time where international travel is difficult, Virginia Tech’s Center for European Union, Transatlantic and Trans-European Space Studies (CEUTTSS) made this possible.
CEUTTSS is designated by the European Commission as a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence. It is the only Jean Monnet Center of Excellence that has ever existed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of only eleven centers currently in operation in the United States. One of the Center’s main goals is to promote the vital EU-US partnership.
The conference had four panels where VT professors provided expert overviews of diverse issues affecting both the EU and US today: European Integration, Identity and Nationalism, and Sustainability and the Environment. Each panel was followed by a lively question and answer session, and a classroom application component where the teachers shared how they could use information learned at each panel in their classrooms.
“A lot of my students don’t have the opportunity to travel outside their communities, or travel abroad. And so I think it’s really important for me as a teacher to be able to bring that back to the classroom to them, since they may not be able to go out and do that themselves,” said high school world history teacher Lisa Mortensen.
They’re already preparing a Model EU Council debate, which will bring around 140 area high school students to the Virginia Tech campus in a few months and shorter workshops for teachers.