Teachers of Barrington School District 220, located about an hour from of Chicago, spent a week of their summer in the Dominican Republic, reaching out to underprivileged schools and exchanging teaching methods with the educators there.
Led by the newly founded INGAGE program, which seeks to “develop teams that build collaborative relationships with international partners and empower communities to effect positive change,” 10 Barrington teachers attended workshops and presentations with local educators. The primary goal was to increase student engagement through the utilization of collaborative efforts from each of the groups.
In preparation for this journey, Barrington teachers reportedly studied Teaching With Poverty In Mind: What Being Poor Does To Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It, by Eric Jensen. This aided them in helping teachers in the DR encourage their students to interact with each other as an element of learning, as opposed to typical lecture-style lessons.
“We went to a different school everyday and did workshops on what worked for us and what worked for them,” said Nancy Kontney, a second grade teacher at Grove School in the Barrington School District. “It was a real collaboration.”