Cross-Cultural Classroom Connections
What is Cross-Cultural Classroom Connections?
Cross-Cultural Classroom Connections is a cyber pen-pal program between students studying abroad through International Academic Programs at the University of Michigan-Flint and Flint-area K-12 classrooms.
Cross-Cultural Classroom Connections promotes global understanding in children through the volunteer efforts of UM-Flint Study Abroad students who realize the importance and value of influencing the way our next generation views the world and their role in it. This program actively supports the principle that education should influence and improve people's lives beyond the university classroom.
Students benefit from participating in Cross-Cultural Classroom Connections by gaining experience as effective communicators and community-oriented volunteers.
Teachers in all subject areas may use Cross-Cultural Classroom Connections to aid them in meeting academic content standards in many areas of study that require cultural exploration. Additionally, Cross-Cultural Classroom Connections can introduce students to the ways that world culture influences various areas of academic study as well as enhancing their personal perspectives of foreign cultures and global relationships.
When possible, a classroom visit with the UM-Flint student either before departure or upon return may be arranged.
How does it work?
- Ready - Students and teachers sign up, with teachers requesting term or academic-year partnerships and preferences of geographic region, language and academic focus. They are paired according to interest and to best match the subject area of the classroom. This enables classroom teachers to use this program to help meet academic content standards and allows the collaboration to be used as a tool to reach academic goals verses as an extra-curricular classroom activity that takes away from other learning. Both parties are contacted by the program coordinator, who is available to answer questions and check-in with teachers and students throughout the program.
- Set - UM-Flint-Students and Teachers introduce themselves to each other, clarifying the relationship frequency of communication, and specific subjects to address about culture. Program guidelines have been set up to assist both parties in establishing the relationship.
- Go - Classroom teachers and UM-Flint students communicate on a regular basis, ideally every other week, to maintain continuity in the classroom's use of the program.
Topics may include:
- An interesting day in the life of the UM-Flint student with photos to introduce the classroom to the host culture.
- Questions from classroom students on similarities and differences between the host culture and our American culture.
- Age-appropriate information on topics the classroom is learning about such as climate, geography, economy, government, and social norms.