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Maine high school teachers partner with Camden Conference to build network of global educators

Twelve high school teachers from across the state attended the Camden Conference’s third annual global affairs teachers’ workshop Saturday, September 16 in Camden. During the day-long session, the teachers worked with Camden Conference facilitators to learn about this coming year’s area of international focus and how it could be introduced into their classrooms.

The Camden Conference in the Classroom (CCC) 9-month program helps build relationships and resource-sharing among Maine high school teachers who bring foreign affairs or global issues to their classrooms. “The Conference’s workshop helps us in integrating the study of international affairs in our classrooms. This program is a key resource for teachers like us who are committed to providing our students with a global education,” said Erin Towns, teacher at Edward Little High School, Auburn. Joe Hennessey, teacher from Piscataquis Community High School, Guilford, agreed, “The interdisciplinary study associated with the Camden Conference helps us augment our students’ world. After an introduction to international affairs in the classroom through various case studies and media, the students find attending the Conference in February a profound broadening of their social and intellectual horizons.”

Participating teachers were enthusiastic about the opportunity to meet other teachers involved from around the state. Troy Crabtree, a teacher from Portland High School said, “These workshops sponsored by the Camden Conference help us build professional support networks. We have a chance to review various curricula for international studies and then can better develop our own.”

The 2018 Conference weekend program is the “New World Disorder and America’s Future”. Speakers will explore the shifts in global power and the ramifications for major players, particularly China, the US and the nations of Europe.

Schools involved in the CCC progam include: Edward Little High School, Auburn; Gould Academy, Bethel; Watershed School, Camden; Lincoln Academy, Damariscotta; Foxcroft Academy, Dover-Foxcroft; Piscataquis Community High School, Guilford; Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Hinckley; Deering High School and Portland High School, Portland; Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockport; and Medomak Valley High School, Waldoboro.

The workshop’s agenda included an introduction of Brown University’s Choices Programs, presentations by Conference facilitators and opportunities for teachers’ exchanges on curricula thoughts and ideas for the coming year. Bruce Cole, Camden Conference Board President, affirmed, “We’re grateful for the partnership that we have with Maine high school educators as we continue to pursue our mission of providing opportunities to foster knowledgeable and engaged future global citizens”.

The CCC program starts in the fall with this teachers’ workshop organized for enrolled teachers by the volunteers of the Conference’s Education Committee and the Conference Director. With input from this workshop, the teachers each deliver a course linked to the 2018 Camden Conference theme. These for-credit courses range from a full year’s course to a theme or topic within an AP course to mentored independent study. In February 2018, teachers will accompany their students to the Conference and participate in the full set of three-day speaker presentations, evening events and activities. The events include an educator-led luncheon on Saturday and a peer-led World Café evening discussion. Schools participating in the CCC program each receive five subsidized tickets for the Conference. In the spring of 2018, teachers will enter their top student essays into the Camden Conference’s Student Essay contest. In May of 2018, teachers participate in a wrap-up workshop with oral and written reports and evaluations of the 2018 CCC program.

Teachers welcome the support and encouragement of the Camden Conference. Emily Gribben, a participating teacher from the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Hinckley, said, “The Conference brings important global issues to light and challenges us teachers with ways to incorporate international events into our lesson plans. The teacher workshops sponsored by the Camden Conference are informative and inspirational”.

The Camden Conference will be held February 16-18, 2018. It originates at the Camden Opera House and is live-streamed to the USM campus, Portland, to Rockland’s Strand Theatre and to Univ. of Maine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast. 

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