Outreach of 'Global Teach Ag!' helps teachers bring global learning to classroom

Amy Duke
March 03, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a high school teacher in New Jersey’s West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, Chris Bond needs his curriculum to align with the school district’s educational goals, one of which is to develop global citizenship competence in students. 

When creating those lessons, Bond said he is fortunate to be able to draw from his experiences as one of 27 educators from 14 states, four nations and eight disciplines who took part in the unique professional development immersion experience, World Food Prize Global Guides, a program created and supported by faculty in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The initiative gives secondary teachers the knowledge, tools and resources to integrate global learning and food security into curriculum and practice, noted Melanie Miller-Foster, global learning specialist and assistant professor in the college’s Office of International Programs.

“Youth are the future,” said Daniel Foster, one of the lead instructors of Global Guides and associate professor of agricultural and extension education at Penn State. “But who’s empowering them with the skills and knowledge they need to make a difference? It’s teachers. That’s why teacher programming such as Global Guides is so important. By investing in teachers, we invest in the future.”

Started in 2018, Global Guides is a seven-month professional development program for teachers in any discipline. It is a partnership between the World Food Prize Foundation, an international organization that recognizes achievements in food security, and "Global Teach Ag!" at Penn State, an initiative that aims to develop capacity in teachers for global impact in food, fiber and natural resources through youth development and education programming.

Selected participants receive 40 hours of synchronous online professional learning focusing on topics such as food security, digital leadership and project-based learning. They receive mentorship in preparing and implementing what is called a “reusable learning artifact” — documents, presentations, illustrations, videos and the like — which can be used to enhance global learning in their classrooms and their communities.

The program includes a three-day summit at the World Food Prize International Symposium/Borlaug Dialogue and Global Youth Institute, held every October in Des Moines, Iowa. The conference features an array of international leaders, farmers, agribusiness executives, nongovernmental organizations and development experts to address the most critical issues affecting global food security.

Daniel Foster at Global Guides

Daniel Foster, one of the lead instructors of Global Guides and associate professor of agricultural and extension education at Penn State, engages with Global Guides during the World Food Prize International Symposium/Borlaug Dialogue and Global Youth Institute, held in October in Des Moines, Iowa. 

IMAGE: Tobin Redwine

There, the Global Guides connect with and lead the symposium’s youth in an activity that involves finding solutions to a global challenge.

“For many of the participants, both teachers and students, this is their favorite part of the week,” said Miller-Foster, who noted this year’s activity focused on ways to counteract the global wheat-supply shortage. “It is their opportunity to say here’s what our generation is going to do to take on the global challenge of hunger.”

Bond, who teaches world history, learned about Global Guides in 2017, when he accompanied one of his students to the Global Youth Institute. During that trip, he met the leaders of the program and was invited to join the next cohort.

“Being a Global Guide has helped me develop insights into how I might connect the lessons I design for my world history class with agricultural issues, world food sustainability goals and nutrition,” Bond said.

For example, he leads class discussions and assigns projects on topics including the United Nations’ sustainability goals and the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program and his “The Four Freedoms Speech,” which outlines four basic human freedoms, one of which is “Freedom from Want.”

For Foster, empowering educators to impact the next generation of thought leaders is rewarding. “A refrain we repeat over and over in our 'Teach Ag!' and 'Global Teach Ag!' programs at Penn State is that teachers matter, and we bring that enthusiasm to the Global Guides program,” he said.

“We remind teachers of the important role they play in affecting the global learning of generations of students at the secondary level. In fact, we had a teacher last year who was thinking about retiring, but after his experience in Global Guides, he decided to teach for a few more years — and that is pretty cool.”

In addition to Miller-Foster and Foster, the Global Guides instructional team includes OP McCubbins, assistant professor at Texas A&M University, and Tobin Redwine, instructional assistant professor, also from Texas A&M.

For more on Global Guides, visit tx.ag/GG19. Information on "Global Teach Ag!" at Penn State can be found at https://aese.psu.edu/teachag/global. "Teach Ag!" and "Global Teach Ag!" are active on Facebook and Twitter under the usernames @TeachAgPSU and @GlobalTeachAg.


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 03, 2020