Bronwyn MacFarlane, William and Mary Ph.D. EPPL 2008, was selected by Toyota and the Institute for International Education to provide curriculum development expertise and guidance to 26 American teachers selected from a pool of 800 teachers to travel to Costa Rica and learn about environmental sustainability. The 26 American teachers teach more than 4,300 students each year combined.
One of the objectives of the Toyota International Teacher Program is to "facilitate the development of interdisciplinary curricula that teach environmental and global issues through creative and hands-on approaches." In keeping with the objectives and in response to participant feedback, they introduced a curriculum development component to the 2010 Toyota International Teacher Program to Costa Rica, tapping former program alumna, Dr. Bronwyn MacFarlane, as the curriculum study leader.
Dr. MacFarlane provided expert curriculum development guidance and support before, during, and after the program through a series of workshops, lectures, and other thought-provoking activities. In addition to learning about the people and culture of Costa Rica, its flora and fauna, and the environmental initiatives which have made it a world leader in conservation and sustainability, participants also explored how to apply what they learned into their classrooms upon return. By the end of the program, each participant will create a curriculum project based on their experience. All of the projects will be compiled, edited, and shared with other teachers across the United States so that they may also benefit from the experience and Dr. MacFarlane's curriculum expertise.
Using what is known in the field of gifted education about rigorous curriculum and professional development, Dr. MacFarlane led a series of intense curriculum sessions to establish a shared curriculum paradigm among the group of 26 teachers from 22 different states who collectively teach more than 4,300 students each year combined. Dr. MacFarlane said, "Together we had eight curriculum sessions in 12 days to develop continuity in producing a top-notch integrated curriculum product related to environmental sustainability, the concept of interdependence, and translate the experience for American students."
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