TORRANCE, Calif., April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of 24 U.S. teachers have been selected to travel to South Africa through the Toyota International Teacher Program. In the program's 14-year history, this is the first time educators will travel to South Africa to learn about the local sociopolitical climate as well as education and environmental efforts in the area. Fully funded by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), the program provides educators with this unique study-abroad experience to enhance environmental and global awareness in schools.
Over the course of the program's history, a total of 635 teachers nationwide have traveled to Japan, Costa Rica, and the Galapagos Islands, where they were provided with global, environmental and cultural learning opportunities. Upon returning to their classrooms, teachers apply their experiences to the creation of interdisciplinary, hands-on, and solution-focused teaching based on their experiences abroad, giving their students a unique perspective and learning opportunity.
Administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the Toyota International Teacher Program will provide teachers the opportunity to learn first-hand about sustainability and conservation efforts in South Africa, the country's rich cultural heritage and the economic and political issues facing the country today. During their travels to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, and Kruger National Park, teachers will participate in a variety of activities that highlight the relationship between South African history, culture, and the environment. While in Johannesburg, teachers will visit the Apartheid Museum and Soweto Township.
In Durban, teachers will tour the Toyota South Africa plant and learn about Toyota South Africa's efforts to support local schools and educators. While in Cape Town, the group will collaborate with local South African teachers during five days of shared learning activities and visits to local schools. U.S. teachers will be matched with South African educators of similar grade level and focus area to better aid in collaboration both in the field and after the program. This collaboration is a first of its kind for the program.
Teachers also will experience South Africa's natural beauty and biodiversity during a visit to Kruger National Park. Other highlights include partnering with Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and the Western Cape Department of Education.
During their time in South Africa, teachers will stay connected with their students via personalized virtual classrooms on the Toyota4Education.com wiki. Facilitating distance learning, the social media tool enables teachers to communicate their experiences in real time with their schools and communities. Educators will blog about their South African experiences, post photos and lesson plans and correspond with their students.
Representing 18 states and selected from a record number of 1,026 applications, the 24 participating teachers were chosen through a competitive, merit-based process administered by IIE, the nation's most experienced nonprofit educational exchange organization. Selection criteria include professional qualifications, evidence of interest in international education, and feasibility of incorporating the study experience into the curriculum.
Applications are now being accepted for the next program, taking place in Costa Rica, November 19 – December 3, 2011. The Toyota International Teacher Program values diversity and encourages educators of all backgrounds, subjects, and school types to apply for this unique professional development opportunity. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, employed full-time as a secondary classroom teacher or teacher-librarian (grades 7-12) and have a minimum of three years teaching experience. To apply for the Costa Rica Program, visit http://www.iie.org/toyota. The application deadline is May 4, 2011.
"Supporting education by providing professional development opportunities to teachers has always been a core mission for Toyota. The expansion of the Toyota International Teacher Program to South Africa, and our partnership with the Western Cape school system, provides a meaningful opportunity for a broad spectrum of teachers to connect and integrate environmental and cultural themes in various disciplines. We are looking forward to a very exciting and impactful program for the U.S. and South African teachers." – Michael Rouse, vice president of philanthropy, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
"Through the Toyota International Teacher Program, thousands of students have benefitted from their teachers' experiences abroad, allowing educators to diversify classroom curriculum. It is our hope that this group of teachers will continue to collaborate with the local South African educators after the program, helping to diversity classroom curricula in the U.S." – Dr. Allan E. Goodman, IIE President and CEO
About Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than $500 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.
About the Institute of International Education
An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, the Institute is the world's most experienced global higher education and professional exchange organization. IIE designs and implements more than 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. IIE also conducts policy research and provides advice and counseling on international educational opportunities abroad. IIE has a network of 18 offices worldwide, over 800 college and university members and more than 5,000 volunteers. For more information, visit www.iie.org or contact Mike McCartt at [email protected].
SOURCE Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.