Northglenn Teacher visits Jordan as Fulbright Scholar
Northglenn Middle School CLDE teacher Megan Alvarez recently spent the summer in Jordan as part of a month long Fulbright Hays Seminar Abroad program. Megan was one of 16 teachers across the country to be selected to study migration, culture, and the refugee experience and its impacts on Jordan’s culture and national identity. During her time there, she attended numerous lectures and community site visits conducted by local experts, university professors, leaders, and NGO’s. She also toured several important cultural and historical sites, and visited three refugee camps where she was able to engage with both children and adults to learn first hand about their experiences.
This fall, Megan will be designing curriculum to be shared on an open source platform through the US Department of Education that will be available to teachers across the country. Some of Megan’s favorite experiences included participating in an archeological dig, riding a camel at sunrise in the Wadi Rum desert, attending a local soccer match in Amman, attending a Culture and Arts festival among Roman ruins in in the city of Jerash, learning how to cook a traditional Jordanian meal, and visiting Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. She especially loved getting to assist with English lessons at one of the refugee camps and learning from the many local organizations about their grassroots efforts to improve the lives of both refugees and Jordanians in the local community.
This was a life-changing personal and professional learning experience and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to visit Jordan and study there. I believe that Americans tend to get a very limited narrative about the Middle East and often those views are monolithic and overgeneralized, leaving out the many nuances and unique and beautiful things about the diversity of people and cultures in the region. This program allowed me to better understand the history and culture of Jordan and many of the complex issues that Jordanians and refugees face in the area. This opportunity also provided me with so many rich experiences that will translate directly into my instruction here at home that I hope will impact my students directly. For example, I learned so many new ways to further develop more culturally responsive practices, as well as ways to foster a sense of belonging and community among our migrant and refugee students that I can’t wait to put into practice.
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- northglenn middle school