Colby School teacher heads to the East
May 17, 2006
While heading south in the winter is popular, one teacher at the Colby School will be heading east when the weather gets cold.
Skye Shelton said she applied for the teacher program with the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund on a whim, and earlier this year she got her acceptance letter.
"I feel very honored," she said.
Shelton, who teaches sixth- through eighth-grade at The Colby School, will be going to Tokyo in November for three weeks to learn about the Japanese approach to education. She will stay with a host family and expects she will be observing classes with other teachers who were selected by the fund.
"Their educational system has a great reputation," she said.
After wrapping up a unit about World War II, Shelton said she wants to learn more about the Japanese culture and admires how quickly they have rebuilt their economy in the post-war era.
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She explained the fund is sponsored by the Japanese government and attempts to foster relationships with the United States.
"Educators are natural connectors for that," she said.
One thing Shelton said she is interested in is comparing the differences between the American and Japanese education system.
"I’ve heard Japanese students are held accountable for things beyond their curriculum," she said, such as keeping their school clean.
Shelton looks forward to reporting on these and other traits she notices, and hopes to have an assembly with the Colby School students so they can share in her experience. She may also teach a unit about Japan after she returns.
"I think that it will benefit the community at Colby," she said.
Shelton hopes to do the same with her peers.
"I’ll share any lessons and ideas that I learn with my colleagues," she said.
Shelton said she hopes to start email correspondences with the contacts she makes while there so they can continue learning from each other.
After being accepted, Shelton said she reread her application.
"I read back through my essay and wondered what got their attention," she said, and came to the conclusion it was the emphasis on hands-on learning at the Colby School.
Shelton welcomes the opportunity to teach some of these methods to the people she meets in Japan, but says, more than anything, she is excited to be going.