Germany Collaborative Teaching multicultural populations and comparative education

Just over two years ago, the Feinstein College of Education embarked on an expansion of URI’s existing partnership with Germany’s Technische Universität Braunschweig (TUB), to develop a new collaboration between the two schools that will incorporate each other’s respective research, mobility programming and methodology into teaching programs. This new branch of the institutional partnership has flourished, and faculty in the respective Colleges of Education have hosted virtual faculty exchanges, collaboration on research, participated in guest lectures, and successfully executed an innovative inaugural faculty-led program, bringing URI students to Germany.

Rabia Hos, associate professor of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and Colleen Rossignol, coordinator of Global Education and Partnerships, collaborated with TUB faculty and staff to design a five-week hybrid course that included online asynchronous and synchronous collaborative learning with German and URI students, followed by URI students traveling to Germany to participate in historical and cultural activities and school observations with their German peers.

In June 2023, Hos and Rossignol took the college’s first cohort of students to Germany. The students engaged in intercultural collaborations in and out of the classroom and focused on teaching literacy strengths of children and adults of diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. Through readings, class discussions, and fieldwork, students explored comparative education between Germany and the United States as it pertains to teaching multicultural populations.

We developed this faculty-led program with a belief that education is the bridge that connects diverse cultures and builds pathways of understanding. By exploring the richness of different educational systems, our students were able to not only enhance their own teaching practices, but also cultivate a global perspective. We believe that it is through the exchange of ideas that we construct a foundation for a more interconnected and enlightened world,” said Hos.

Following the success of the college’s program in Germany, TUB partners extended an Erasmus scholarship to fund one College of Education faculty member to travel to the TUB campus in Braunschweig, Germany to guest lecture. Adam Moore, associate professor of Special Education, was a guest lecturer in undergraduate and graduate level courses at TUB.

Last November, a senior delegation from TUB visited the College of Education to participate in an institution-wide partnership signing ceremony with URI President Marc Parlange. The college organized school observations for the TUB delegation, with the intention of furthering the joint research and comparative education programming with both institutions.

“This visit further cemented the commitment each university has to this partnership and resulted in outlining future goals of dual mobility and dual degree programs that we’re both working towards,” said Rossignol.

During his lecture series, Moore also mentored German Ph.D. student, Lisa-Katharina Möhlen, who is writing her dissertation on comparative special education models of the U.S. and German school systems. Möhlen intends to travel to URI to conduct research under the guidance of Moore.

“This partnership is important because it provides opportunities for students and faculty. Education students have the opportunity to network with, and participate in, cross-cultural dialogue with education peers from another country. Likewise, faculty have the opportunity to share research, participate in joint research projects and guest lecturing activities, broadening their impact and perspectives in education,” said Rossignol.

URI is one of five strategic partners for TUBS worldwide.