DSC_0072A new city, a new country, a new culture; very few teachers get the opportunity to go across the world and experience something new. The average person may not seize an opportunity such as this. Despite the odds, one of our own, a teacher filled with Manvel spirit and honor, has the opportunity to travel across the globe and experience a whole new world.

World History teacher Jacqueline Labelle has been selected to The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania Keizai Koho Fellowship tour. Labelle is one of the ten people selected for the fellowship.  The Keizai Koho fellowship has been taking teachers and educators abroad since 1980. While in Japan, teachers will learn about Japanese culture and society, and, later, apply this experience in their classrooms. Labelle and nine other educators will head off to Japan on Jun. 30 for two weeks.

Labelle found this fellowship through internet searches and websites. She was also inspired by fellow Maverick teacher Lisa Staup to get a fellowship.

“Really, through internet searches, I looked up fellowship opportunities for educators,” LaBelle said. “I was really inspired by my boss [Social Studies department head] Lisa Staup, who also got a fellowship to experience the EU, and Brussels and Warsaw.”

Before being accepted, Labelle had to fill out and complete an application. The extensive application had many requirements.

“In order to apply, I had to get letters of recommendation and write a lesson plan on how going to Japan would benefit my kids,” LaBelle said. “The lesson plan I wrote about was comparing urban development of Houston with urban development of Tokyo, using a lot human geography elements.”

The fellowship also takes into account the educators interests. Using the interests of the teachers, the organization bases what aspect of Japan each educator would learn more about.

“They will have a set itinerary. They will have a day by day plan,” LaBelle said. “They are also arranging for us to meet influential individuals in Japan as well, depending on our interests. We all got a survey and we had to put in what we are interested in- diplomacy, energy, etc.”

Thanks to modern technology and social media, LaBelle has already gotten in contact with other educators that are also participating in the fellowship.

“We are already networking, and I have already met three or four people who are going,” LaBelle said. “Actually we have a closed Facebook group, and what the organization wants or would like to see is that we are collaborating, using technology  to influence our students.”

In her classroom, LaBelle has already taken a large focus on technology, using hash tags on Twitter to organize articles and research elements for her students.  Through different hash tags on LaBelle’s Twitter, @LaBelleGlobal, students are able to pull sources LaBelle gathers to their phones.

“I use my twitter account @LaBelleGlobal to provide my students with a reliable resource of information for current events and articles related to the modern day world and Human Geography,” LaBelle said. ” I also created hashtags so my students can quickly pull up relevant articles (#APHGLa #urban #China for example) on twitter.”

Story By: Chris Madison


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