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Thursday, March 30, 2006
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Global teacher educators convene at Ohio University in the 'Year of Study Abroad'

ATHENS, Ohio (March 30, 2006) -- Educators from all over the world will converge in Athens April 5-8 for the annual Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) conference. Since 1973, COST has been providing education students with the opportunity to fulfill their student teaching requirements abroad. Ohio University's College of Education is one of 15 member institutions here in the United States that arrange for undergraduates to spend a quarter student teaching in Ecuador, Greece, New Zealand, or one of the other 16 COST host countries.

Rosalie Romano, associate professor of educational studies in the College of Education, and Mary Anne Flournoy, associate director emerita for international studies, are the local program supervisors. Romano explains, "This is a passion for us, to expand world understanding through education. We are providing cross-cultural experiences in a world that desperately needs cross-cultural understanding."

The student teaching pre-service teachers do abroad fulfills state licensure requirements, but the richness of the experience provides students with much more than a teaching license. COST program alumna Stacy Simonyi, now an instructor at Tri-County Career Center, says her quarter in New Zealand bolstered her self-confidence and encouraged reflection, causing her to look more closely at her previously unexamined beliefs and biases. Simonyi concludes, "I would not be the educator, person or global citizen I am today without my COST experience."

In an era when many American educators are frustrated with the increasing reliance on assessment tests, COST's host countries expose student teachers to curricula that Romano describes as "rich, exciting and inspiring." Their unique experiences in foreign classrooms empower students to attain one of the College of Education's central objectives for them: to become reflective, ethical decision-makers and creative, but flexible, curriculum-makers.

The U.S. Senate has declared 2006 the "Year of Study Abroad" and so Ohio University is particularly honored to be hosting this year's COST conference. The program leaders from each of the 15 member colleges and representatives from many of the host school sites, including Germany, Mexico, Australia and South Africa, will be meeting to plan next year's program, but they are also making time for a taste of Appalachian culture.

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Media Contact: College of Education Public Affairs Coordinator Amy Robison, (740) 593-4465 or robisona@ohio.edu

Editors, reporters: Interested local reporters should contact Amy Robison to schedule an interview with the conference attendees. The College of Education would be happy to provide journalists with photographs of COST students working in their international classrooms.

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