Forest Lake Area High School Earth and Space Science teacher Devon Vojtech has been selected to participate in the Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development organized by the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission, known as Fulbright Japan.
Fulbright Japan’s main objective, according to its website is to “raise awareness of ESD-oriented school programs, enhance ESD-related curricula in both countries, and deepen a sense of global interconnectedness between teachers in Japan and the United States in two vital areas of ESD focus: food education and environmental education.”
Vojtech went through an in-depth application process of filling out the online application, writing two essays, and providing two letters of recommendation to be considered for the program. Out of more than 300 applicants, only 12 people from Japan and 12 from the U.S. receive a spot in the program.
“I feel honored for the opportunity to participate in this program,” Vojtech said in a press release. “I applied for this program to expand the environmental cross-cultural experience for students. Curriculum in earth and space science strives to connect students with their local, regional and global resources. Fulbright Japan provides an opportunity for students to engage with youth from another culture on a personal level.”
Vojtech will participate in two parts of the program: a joint conference with Japanese teachers in San Francisco from May 1 to 3 and then a study tour in Japan from June 20 to July 2.
During the first part of the program, Vojtech will meet with the other U.S. and Japanese teachers and administrators to view presentations by U.S. experts in ESD and participate in workshops and group discussions. Each teacher or administrator in the program will also be given the opportunity to share their ESD curricula and collaborate with one another.
In the second part of the program, Vojtech and the other U.S. participants will travel to Japan, where they will learn about the culture, visit schools focused on ESD, stay with a Japanese family and again meet up with the Japanese teachers/admins in the program, in Tokyo, to go through another three-day joint conference.
Vojtech will demonstrate what she and the other participants in the program were able to develop for curriculum for environmental sustainability during the earth and space science course units of plate tectonics and climate.
“I am excited to connect Forest Lake Area High School students with youth from another culture,” Vojtech said in a press release. “I look forward to sharing my experience with the community and prompting discussion on local and global environmental sustainability.”