DANSVILLE — Thanks to the Teachers Global Class Exchange Program a Dansville Central treacher will be allowed to embark on an educational journey to West Africa.
Dansville Central French Teacher Noel Folts spent a semester in college in Senegal, West Africa, and thanks to these opportunities she will be heading back April 16 to May 2.
Folts has been teaching English as a Second Language and French at Dansville High School for 10 years. She has taught kindergarten through 12th grade students of all English levels from Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as grades seventh through tenth French students. She is leader of the school Garden Club, sophomore class advisor and film series coordinator for the language department. In her stint in Senegal, Folts will explore how foreign languages are taught in other countries while broadening her understanding of global perspectives in politics, culture and the arts in order to enhance rural education at home.
“I am a French Teacher so I was interested in the professional development part of the program. There is a class called Foundations in Global Education. I really like the idea of the teachers exchange,” Folts said. “This is the trip portion of the year-long program. There is six different groups of teachers from all over the country, and we are going to six different locations around the world.”
The ones who are in Folts’ group will go to Senegal, Dakar, and Louga. Half of the trip will be teaching, and the other half will be learning. Folts’ Senegalese host teacher is Mansour Sy Ndiaye. Folts’ American partner teacher is Spanish Teacher Michelle Traub, from Connecticut.
“We will be spending time teaching in French and English classes in Senegal,” she said. “I am interested in learning more about this country. I will be teaching some of the time, but I will also be doing some observations of the Senegalese school system. I will see how students study foreign languages in Senegal.”
Senegal was a French Colony until 1960, so they all still speak French in that part of Africa.
“Dr. (Paul) Alioto and the (Dansville) Board of Education approved this as a professional development experience,” Folts said. “We have a new form that offers an extended leave application. You have a proposal to do something remarkable and unusual in the professional development. I started this last Spring, so it has been a year-long fellowship. I took a 10 week online course as well.”
In February the groups all met in Washington, D.C. to prepare for this trip to their specific country.
“Whatever I learn there I can bring back to my classroom in Dansville,” Folts said. “I have postcards to give the Senegalese students from my ninth graders, and I will be collecting postcards to bring back to them. There are typically 50 students in a classroom in the Senegalese school system.”
“I am really excited to have this opportunity,” Folts continued. “I have friends I look forward to seeing again that I haven’t seen in 15 years. I look forward to eating the amazing food again. It really is the land of hospitality, and everyone there is friendly. I have always been very interested in learning about the world.”