Learning "From How We Teach"
Simone Gordon (City College, BS in childhood education, 2014), sees similarities between the United States and India when it comes to the educational problems — including high dropout rates — faced by low-income children. As she embarks on a nine-month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Calcutta, Gordon hopes her teaching and research there will enable her "to make a difference" for both her Indian and American students.
A native of Jamaica who emigrated to New York at age 6, Gordon sought a Fulbright posting in India — where she will teach English literature and grammar to middle school students — because of the opportunity there to blend teaching with research. She plans to compare classroom practices, strategies and student-teacher dynamics, as well as cultural and economic factors in India and New York, to discover "what we can learn ... from how we teach.
"I am intimately aware of the effects of gender, ethnicity and financial and social status on a student's academic progress," Gordon wrote in her Fulbright grant proposal. ... I am especially interested in making a difference in one of India's schools while learning from its educators, whose efforts have been crucial to India's educational reforms and achievements."
Gordon has wanted to teach since third grade at P.S. 135 in Queens Village. "I had a really inspiring teacher," she says. "She showed that she cared about her students," motivating them to do better. "I want to do that for somebody else."
At City College, where she earned a B.S. in childhood education with a social studies concentration, Gordon held student government posts, participated in the Colin Powell Fellowship Program and received public service and leadership honors. Through a CCNY study abroad program, she spent a rewarding month teaching English to 4- and 5-year-olds in Morocco.
Now, Gordon says, she looks forward to India — "the food, the history, everything, fully immersing myself in that community."
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, administered by the Department of State to increase understanding between U.S. citizens and those of other countries, offers fellowships for study, research and/or teaching English abroad. A stipend covers living expenses.
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