Science Education for International Groups
About the International Science Education Center
The Objective of the International Science Education Center is to share the most effective practices in science instruction and professional development with science teachers, science education professionals, and science administrators from around the world.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the premier research institutions in the world. UW-Madison consistently ranks in the top five among public universities in its total Research & Development expenditures (data from 1994-2007). The Colleges and Schools of Letters and Science, Agricultural and Life Sciences, Medicine and Public Health, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Human Ecology, Nursing, Engineering, and Education are home to more than a thousand scientists, educators, and researchers. Science education from elementary through graduate education is an area of intense interest at UW-Madison. UW-Madison is committed to sharing what it has learned about most effective science instruction with educational communities around the world and one way it does so is through its continuing support of the Institute for Biology Education and its many programs, including WisTEP.
The Asian Partnership Initiative (API) of the UW–Madison Chancellor’s office is a prime example of UW-Madison’s commitment to international programming. API supports science education initiatives of the IBE as well as many other UW–Madison units.
The Institute for Biology Education and WisTEP have worked with the Kingdom of Thailand for over eight years. Educators from the Thai Ministry of Education (MoE), Mahidol University, Srinakharinwirot University, Mahasarakham University, Mahidol Wittayanusorn School, and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) have visited UW-Madison. Groups of educators from Thailand have come to UW–Madison in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Delegations spend up to two weeks in Madison engaging in numerous activities and visiting and talking with teachers, researchers, and other educators from around Wisconsin. Dr. Kevin Niemi has visited Thailand seven times, each with stays of two to five weeks, to deliver and facilitate educational activities with Thai teachers, MoE administrators, and science educators from the IPST.
Niemi was awarded a Senior Specialists Program award from the Fulbright Scholar Program for his work in Thailand. The award from the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and the Thailand-U.S. Educational Foundation supported his work in Thailand during the month of September, 2007. Two week-long institutes—one for elementary teachers and one for middle and high school teachers—on the incorporation of science inquiry into the classroom highlighted the visit. Other activities included work with the IPST and its science staff, the School of Education at Mahasarakham University, the Institute for Innovation and Learning at Mahidol University, and the Science Education Center at Srinakharinwirot University.
UW–Madison and several Thai Universities with Science Education graduate programs have Memoranda of Understanding for student exchanges. Students typically spend a year at UW–Madison as visiting scholars to consult with UW faculty and staff, continue work on their thesis proposals, and practice and improve their English skills. Currently, Srinakharinwirot University and Mahidol University are placing students in this exchange program with the School of Education and the Institute for Biology Education and WisTEP.
Science Education Graduate Students/Visiting Scholars from Mahidol University, Institute for Innovation and Learning:
- 2010-11: Choojit Sarapak
- 2008-09: Parichat Saenna, Bunlung Nuangsaeng, and Pirom Chenprakhon
- 2007-08: Atchara Nuam-In and Saowapak Teerasong
- 2006-07: Karnyupha Jittivadhna, Supaporn Porntrai, and Supot Seebut
- 2005-06: Jongdee To-Im
UW-Stevens Point Global Environment Teachings (GET) program
WisTEP is collaborating with the GET program at UW-Stevens Point in working with teachers from China, Puerto Rico, and South Africa. CBE staff member Dolly Ledin led a delegation of Wisconsin teachers to Puerto Rico for a joint U.S.-P.R. program in environmental education. A delegation of GET teachers from South Africa (last minute budget and visa restrictions unfortunately prevented all teachers from traveling to Wisconsin) visited Wisconsin and UW-Madison during July 2008 for the first week of a two-week workshop jointly organized and sponsored by UW-Stevens Point and UW-Madison. Contact Susan (Ermer) Schuller at UW–Stevens Point or Kevin Niemi or Dolly Ledin at UW–Madison for further details.
Through the work of WisTEP’s former director, Professor Emeritus Raymond Kessel, WisTEP has a strong programmatic connection with many universities, schools, and teachers in South Africa. South African teachers have participated in WisTEP summer programs for many years. Dr. Kessel continues to facilitate the connections of UW–Madison, WisTEP, and South African educators.
Through a partnership with Professor Michel Wattiaux of the Dairy Science Department, Wisconsin teachers are engaged in exploring global issues in agriculture and the role of science in our lives. Universities and businesses in Mexico, as well as the UW and Wisconsin state agencies and businesses, are supporting this exchange program of ideas for teachers and students in their classrooms.
For more information, download this document regarding the Mexico–Wisconsin teacher and student exchange program. UW–Madison–Mexico exchange program (PDF)
ISEC instructional activities:
WisTEP activities are based on the premise that educators need to be immersed in inquiry in order to understand how inquiry functions in the classroom. They need to deconstruct the experience and make connections to research on student learning and professional development to appreciate and assimilate the pedagogy of inquiry.
- Topics of activities offered through WisTEP include instruction and pedagogy of science inquiry, inquiry-based science curriculum development and writing based on Analyzing Instructional Materials protocol, effective practice in professional development for science teachers, and assessment and evaluation of inquiry science.
- These topics are probed and examined in depth through facilitated discussions, lectures, and activities led by UW–Madison and WisTEP educators, scientists, and science educators, visits to U.S. classrooms and discussions with classroom teachers focusing on classroom implementation of science inquiry instruction, and visits to regional informal science venues such as Science Museums, Botanical Gardens, Nature Centers, and Zoos.