LFCMS teacher selected to participate in Japanese-U.S. exchange program

By Liz Verley, Staff Writer

Susan Benjamin
Susan Benjamin

Susan Benjamin, a Little Falls Community Middle School science teacher has been selected to participate in a Japan-U.S. exchange program, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

As a participant in the program, hosted by the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission (Fulbright Japan), Benjamin was selected from a national pool of more than 200 educators.

Participating teachers will have the opportunity to share experiences and insights with other participants. They will be able to share the ESD curricula and collaborate with each other to strengthen school activities in four vital areas of ESD focus: food and sustainable nutrition, environment, energy and resources and international understanding and cooperation.

Benjamin teaches physical science to sixth grade students and life science to the seventh grade. She has been teaching for 14 years.

Earlier in the year a contingent of 24 Japanese teachers traveled to the U.S. for a two-week study tour of American culture and ESD programs in schools. In May the Japanese teachers and the American teachers met for a three-day joint conference in San Francisco. There they were able to attend workshops as well as group discussions focused on ESD curriculum development. Benjamin’s focus on the trip will be on the environmental and cultural components of the program.

“I have always been interested in teaching about the environment and teaching students that global problems need global solutions,” Benjamin said. “Whenever you can make the personal connections it makes it so much more real.”

Upon arriving in Japan the teachers will be divided into two units and sent to two different areas of the country.

They will learn about Japanese culture, visit Japanese schools focused on ESD, participate in a home stay and meet again with their Japanese counterparts for a three-day joint conference, including workshops and curricular collaboration, in Tokyo.

“I hope to bring back lots of ideas to use in my classroom and share with colleagues. I hope it broadens my own perspective in education and the Japanese culture,” Benjamin said.

When not teaching, Benjamin enjoys being outdoors, hiking, bicycling, canoeing and bird-watching are her favorites.