Join Us in Taipei!

Wendy Wang is a faculty member at the University of Taipei and the counselor of Kappa Delta Pi’s Taiwan Chapter.

KDP Taiwan Chapter membersKappa Delta Pi’s Taiwan Chapter is working with the University of Taipei to host the Fifth Pacific-Rim Conference on Education (PRiCE) at the University of Taipei in Taiwan, November 4-5, and you’re invited! In fact, KDP members are able to attend at a steep discount—just $50.

The conference has successfully gathered hundreds of scholars and educators to deliver their research and experience regarding education-related issues, achievements, developments, trends, and solutions. This year’s theme is Educational Innovation. Participants from 11 countries, including Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, America, Korea, Japan, Thailand, England, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia, will be in attendance.

Also in attendance will be KDP President Dr. Beth Wilkins and 16 members from the KDP Taiwan Chapter. In fact, we’re happy to announce that PRiCE has attracted many people to join the Taiwan Chapter.

Apart from oral and poster presentation sessions, there will be three keynote addresses, one symposium, and a final discussion. Invited keynote speakers include Dr. Tim T. Y. Ting, Deputy Mayor, Taipei City Government; Dr. Toshiyuki Hosokawa, Professor, Hokkaido University, Japan; and Dr. Guangju Chen, Vice-President, Beijing Normal University, China.

The main focus areas of the conference are:

  • Innovations in Different Levels of Education
  • Students’ Learning Outcomes and Assessment
  • Internationalization of Higher Education
  • Cloud-Based Instructional Technology
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Special Education and Inclusion
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development

We would love to see you there. For more information, head to the PRiCE website. And, if you’re interested in joining us in Taipei, contact me!

World Teachers’ Day: Invest in the Future, Invest in Teachers

Sally Rushmore edits the New Teacher Advocate. She formerly taught secondary science and computer applications at a community college.

Picture of World Teachers Day poster 2014The fifth of October each year marks World Teachers’ Day. This day of recognition is devoted to appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world. The theme for this year Day is “Invest in the Future, Invest in Teachers.” Teachers are an investment for the future of all countries. What today’s children will face in adult life cannot be predicted; therefore, the teachers of today and tomorrow need the skills, knowledge, and support that will enable them to meet the diverse learning needs of every girl and boy.

On October 5, 1994, the first World Teachers’ Day was held. This event has been organized on the same date each year since then. However, local events may be on some other date close to October 5, so that they do not fall during fall (northern hemisphere) or spring (southern hemisphere) school vacations. In 2002, Canada Post issued a postage stamp to commemorate World Teachers’ Day.

World Teachers’ Day is a global observance. In some areas posters are displayed and pupils and ex-pupils are encouraged to send e-cards or letters of appreciation to teachers who made a special or memorable contribution to their education. Trade unions or other professional organizations that represent teachers play an important role in organizing World Teachers’ Day events in many countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

There are three purposes to World Teachers’ Day and you can be involved in all three:

  • Appreciate those who have taught you by sending a card, ecard, or email to thank them. Appreciate your teaching colleagues and mentors. Let them know! As teachers and future teachers ourselves, we can often pinpoint particular teachers who impacted our lives. Share your stories of on KDP Global.
  • Assess the effectiveness of teachers presently in the profession. The essentials for supporting teachers’ effectiveness are (a) good conditions of employment, including appropriate contracts and salaries, and prospects for career progression and promotion; (b) good conditions in the work environment, based on creating school contexts that are conducive to teaching; (c) high-quality pre-and in-service training for teachers, based on respect for human rights and the principles of inclusive education; and (d) effective management, including teacher recruitment and induction and mentoring. If one of these is missing where you are, work to upgrade the conditions.
  • Improve the quality of teaching in your local schools, in your state, and around the world. KDP members are the best teachers; you are needed. Consider teaching in an urban area. By 2018, more than half the world’s people will live in cities. Urban schools are in dire need of good teachers. Consider teaching in another country for a year, two years, or five years to help alleviate the shortages of teachers. Your students could become pen pals to students in a school in a different state, province, or country. Your class could do fund raisers to support a school in a third world country.

As teachers, we have invested our lives in teaching; we are investing our money and time in becoming better teachers. We feel that what we do every day (and evenings and weekends usually) is investing in the future through the students we teach.

Happy Peace Day!

Sarah Zike is director of membership at Kappa Delta Pi.

poster_smSince 1981, the United Nations have observed International Day of Peace by calling for nations to drop their weapons and observe peace for one day. This year the theme of the day is “Right of Peoples to Peace.” Today, as in years past, they will ring the bell of peace at the UN headquarters, which was crafted with coins from children all over the world. The nightly news will tell us if arms were truly dropped and conflict was set aside for the day, but we can, individually, do our best to honor it.

In thinking about what peace means and how it can be a scaffold for our teaching and in our personal efforts, I found some wisdom from John F. Kennedy. He said: “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” This sounds a lot like the process of educating and of becoming educated throughout our lives. So, how do we teach to bring about peace—to ensure that peace is the fulcrum upon which our children turn throughout their lives?

A classroom is a small society in and of itself. There are students—individual nations—with insecurities and rivals, access to more resources and less, and personal belief structures that may not match. Then, there is the teacher—not a dictator, per se, but more of a god who oversees all behavior and either punishes or rewards it.

In this role, teachers have tremendous responsibility and power for good or bad. I’m reminded of two events in my education that informed my approach and, unfortunately, began the development of my insecurities. In preschool, around Halloween, I stood in front of my teacher and was asked for my phone number. It was easy—888-0999. As I told her, standing there in my Snow White costume, she dismissed me, told me she didn’t believe me, and asked my mom later in the day. When vindicated, I might have felt better, but it never occurred to me to lie, especially to my teacher! Then in kindergarten, I had a little trouble tying my shoes the way we were instructed to, so I devised my own way. The shoes were tied. Job done, right? In school the next day, when demonstrating my achievement of the task, I was informed that I wasn’t tying them correctly and needed to try again. Enter insecurity two–the end does not matter if the means to achieve it aren’t correct, as instructed.

Peace in the little society of your classroom requires two things (in addition to many others, I’m sure): trust and openness to alternative perspectives and approaches. Extend trust to your students. Celebrate their creativities. Have faith that with gentle guidance and belief in their fundamental goodness as children, they may move to places closer to peace within themselves and may be more willing to extend that generosity and tolerance into other areas of their lives. Let them tie their shoes the way they can, and they will be less inclined to fight. They might surprise you with their creativity, too.

What’s Your Professional Identity?

2014 International Research Conference

Dr. Jodi Nickel is chair in the Department of Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. You can watch a video about the project she details below. She will be sharing this research at the Kappa Delta Pi conference, October 2-4, 2014.

As a teacher educator, I am always curious about my teacher candidates’ experiences of dissonance as they develop their professional identity. My research studies teacher candidates who are beginning to find themselves as teachers – to resolve the tensions between the teachers they aspire to be and the challenges that threaten those aspirations.

nickel_jodiI want to share a story with you that might seem familiar.

Tyrell had the sweetest smile and a lovely singsong voice as he cheerfully bounced into his first-grade classroom. Along with his classmates, he applauded when it was time for Writer’s Workshop and happily filled reams of booklets with drawings and stories. The only problem was, Tyrell seldom got to the writing part.

I would crouch beside his desk as he shared his stories with me and urge, “Tyrell, let’s try to write some of the words for your story.” He indulged me while I guided him to stretch out the words and write the letter sounds he heard but returned to creating his wordless books as soon as I moved on.

How could I help him?

The next day, I decided to hand out phonics worksheets in lieu of Workshop. My students asked, “Don’t we get to do Writer’s Workshop?” “Today we’re going to work on some ‘sh’ words,” I replied. The energy was swiftly sucked out of the room.

So why did I resort to phonics worksheets that might possibly achieve the latter goal but certainly crushed the former?

Korthagen (2013) suggests that teachers often experience such dissonance when they face a teaching challenge and respond in ways that run counter to the teachers they aspire to be. They may lack the competencies to respond more appropriately or they may fail to consider the beliefs that led them to choose that particular course of action.

In Tyrell’s case, perhaps I didn’t really believe he could grow as a writer unless I compelled him to practice phonics skills, but this didn’t match the vision I had for myself as a teacher.

Korthagen urges teachers to consider their identity – “Who am I in my work?” and mission – “What inspires me?”

177403572That will be the focus of my keynote speech at Learning, Leadership, and Practice: Educating Global Citizens, an international conference taking place Oct. 2-4 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The conference, co-hosted by Kappa Delta Pi and Mount Royal University, will bring together education researchers and experts, teachers, administrators, and students who have theoretical and practical knowledge of the education of children and adults for global citizenship.

We’re hoping you’ll come and present your scholarly work, too! Proposals are currently being accepted for papers, presentations, and poster displays (June 30 deadline) and, if accepted, will be included in an online publication of the conference proceedings.

I hope you’ll consider learning more about this conference and submitting your proposal today. I’d love to share my research with you and hear your research discoveries, too. I look forward to meeting you in Calgary!

How Are You Making the World a Better Place Today?

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing and communications for Kappa Delta Pi.

logo-world-environment-dayDid you know that June 5 is World Environment Day? It was established by the UN in 1972 as “the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.”  This year’s theme is Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level.

Sustainability is an extremely important initiative of Kappa Delta Pi. In fact, we are a partner of UNESCO, a specialized agency of the UN, to advance the work of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). We feel it’s our duty, and that of every educator across the globe, to teach children about being responsible global citizens, and ESD is a huge part of that responsibility.

So, we want to know: what do you do in your life or in your classroom to advocate for sustainability? And what are you going to do TODAY for the environment?

Even if you share info about World Environment Day via Facebook, recycle your yogurt container at lunch, bring your own bags to the grocery store, or finally make the switch from bottled water–every bit makes a difference. We want to hear all of your ideas, small and large.

Here are a few websites you may want to check out:

The EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator: allows you to answer a few questions to calculate your household’s carbon footprint and provides information on how to reduce the footprints we are all leaving behind.

FreeRice.com: asks you trivia questions and donates 10 grains of rice for each question you answer correctly. Some fun facts: 5,134,830 grains of rice were donated yesterday through this website and over 100 billion grains have been donated to date (that’s almost 16 million meals). According to the website FreeRice has two goals, to provide education to everyone for free and to help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

Tell us: do you have any go-to sustainability websites and resources? Share them with us!

These leaders are making a difference. How will you?

Dr. Elizabeth Wilkins is KDP president-elect and professor at Northern Illinois University. Dr. Elizabeth Wilkins

On behalf of Kappa Delta Pi, I would like to welcome our new 2014-2016 Executive Council:

  • Dr. Peggy Moch, President-Elect
  • Dr. Susannah Brown, Vice-President
  • Dr. Denisha Jones, Vice-President
  • Dr. Vicky Tusken, Professional Representative
  • Dr. Erin Brumbaugh, Member-at-Large
  • Ryan Stivers, Student Representative
  • Dr. Carl Grant, Laureate Representative

Thank you for taking the time to vote for and elect this talented group of individuals who will move KDP forward during the next two years. Using their gifted leadership abilities, creative thinking, and listening skills, they will identify new ways Kadelpians can make a difference in the lives of those around us. I look forward to working with the Council knowing they are proven “difference makers.” Each of us, not just the Council, has the ability to make a difference as professional educators, students, parents, administrators, policy makers, etc.  We, as an organization, are making a difference through:

So, how will you make a difference over the next biennium? By staying actively involved, how will you benefit from KDP’s ongoing professional development to be a difference maker in the lives of others? Please share an example of how you are currently making a difference and/or an idea for the Executive Council to consider as they plan for the future!

Ever thought about teaching outside of the US?

Karen DeLawter is West Regional Chapter Coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

Karen's love of adventure began when she moved with her family to Vietnam at a young age .

Karen’s love of adventure began when she moved with her family to Vietnam at a young age .

Kappa Delta Pi, in partnership with the Chinese Education Connection, is now offering 41 one-year teaching positions for KDP members in schools in China.

So what is teaching in a foreign country like? Many years ago after graduating with a degree in Elementary Education I headed southward to teach in Bolivia, South America. Once the village was identified for my teaching assignment, reality set in. The villagers had to build my house and school, one mud hut structure, half being the school and the other a room for me live.

There was no set curriculum for me to follow and no books. What freedom, to be able to teach without restrictions! As I readied my plans for the very first day, I couldn’t wait to jump in and share my passion for learning. What a surprise for me when all but one student had never been to school at all and had no idea how to even hold a pencil. Plan B quickly kicked in. Exactly what skills did children need to have to get them ready to read and write? How I wished I had thought to pack some of my reference books, just for the assurance I was on the right track. Why hadn’t I thought of bringing markers and manipulatives? Both soon came to me in a care package, thanks to my mother who was a teacher.

In a very short time, the students and I set into a pattern of teaching and learning. Here I thought I came to share my vast knowledge, and before my eyes, the teacher became the student with them teaching me so many more valuable life lessons. Even though the students couldn’t read and write, their life skills surviving in a third world greatly surpassed my book knowledge.

Karen moved to Bolivia to teach internationally. This is her ID!

Karen moved to Bolivia to teach internationally. This is her ID!

Recently I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a group of Chinese principals who will be hiring KDP members in the next few weeks for teaching jobs in China. Because of my experience of teaching overseas I wanted to ask them a few questions. Here is what I found out:

  • You will be responsible for 16-20 different 40-minute classes a week. The content will be similar for all classes, with different levels and depth based on the grade.
  • You may be asked to share your best practices. Once a month there are teacher meetings. Teachers in your school after observing how the children interact with you will want to learn more about how you teach.
  • China does have unified standards for the country. The curriculum is different in each province. Test scores are very important, especially to parents. You will be improving the English language skills of students and broadening their understanding of different cultures. The principals did not think it was necessary to bring lesson plans or your own resources. *Please, take my advice and pack those one or two reference books. These will be invaluable and worth the space they take up in your suitcase. Don’t forget all of the resources available to you at your fingertips on the KDP website, too.
  • Depending on the job assignment, you may have a room at the dorm of the school.
  • In many cities across China, there are competitions, recognition and awards for foreign teachers.
  • The Chinese Government has taken steps to ensure foreign teachers are supported in the area of academics and culturally. Colleagues and parents will share their culture with you. You will also find people willing to assist you with travel plans and visas and getting acclimated to a new country.

The deadline application is March 15 deadline. If chosen, in early August, you receive cultural training prior to the start of school. Find additional job specifics and requirements here.

Karen's love of adventure began when she moved with her family to Vietnam at a young age .

For me, it is like it was yesterday when I went out to change the world and what happened instead was the world changed me. There isn’t enough money in the world to pay for this kind of experience. Life changing, heart changing, and world changing one student and (one teacher) at a time.

Are you ready for the adventure of your life?

Nelson Mandela: It is in your hands to make a difference!

Faye Snodgress is executive director of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.

Nelson MandelaAs the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela and reflects on his enduring impact in the struggle for democracy and the promotion of a global culture of peace, it is the values that guided his life that must continue to be embraced by people around the world.

Consistent with the aims of education for sustainable development, Mandela encouraged change that would create a more viable and fairer South African society by focusing on the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, uplifting those in poverty, the protection of human rights, and peace and reconciliation. As educators, we too, are change agents who strive to make the world a better place by promoting equity and inclusion, quality learning, resilience, and critical problem solving.

In considering the devastation caused by the recent tsunami in the Philippines and Hurricane Sandy, the links between globalization, poverty, development and the environment can no longer been ignored. More natural disasters and economic challenges lie ahead. This is where education comes in, raising awareness of our individual responsibilities to make responsible choices and to respect other people, nature, and diversity. By relating content areas to the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development, we can give orientation and meaning to quality education for all.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”