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Team returns to Tibetan Children’s Village

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October 27, 2009

large photo A team led by Dr. Charles Martin of Georgia College & State University and Dr. Ted Anders of Newman University has returned to Dharmasala, India to continue a partnership with the Tibetan Children’s Village.

“We were hooked from the beginning,” said Martin, director of the Center for Program Evaluation and Development. “The children are so smart. They absorb everything and want to ask you questions about everything. The kids really care for each other too, and their teachers and school administrators are incredibly dedicated. From the beginning we knew collaborating with them would result in something that could make a difference.”

Before returning Nov. 2 the team will train a selective group of the teachers to become trainers themselves. The team also plans to meet with leaders of the new Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education to discuss how Georgia College might collaborate with their teacher education program.

Martin is adamant about how much the team is learning from TCV teachers, administrators and students. He also is excited that the partnership is laying the foundation to create exchange programs or international service learning opportunities for Georgia College students.

“We have grown and learned so much, and we want to give others at Georgia College the same experience,” said Martin. “These kids value their education. They don’t want to waste it, and they don’t want to lose it. Working with them has helped us remember what really is valuable. How much we have versus how much we need and realizing how much we can give. This is the value of service learning.”

In June the team leaders signed a joint resolution committing both the Tibetan Children’s Village and Georgia College to a multi-year partnership to improve educational opportunities in the village schools.

“The deal was sealed when we had an audience with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and he stressed the importance of TCV Schools in preparing Tibetans to be leaders in math, science, politics, and the arts,” Martin said.

The project began in March as Martin and Anders made their first trip to the Tibetan Children’s Village. The two met with the school administrators for five days to identify three primary objectives: To redesign village teachers’ evaluation system, to develop democratic leadership skills and to implement a training program for middle grades math and science instructors.

The Tibetan Children’s Village was established following the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950. His Holiness the Dalia Lama, believing that children are the future of Tibet, commissioned a place to educate them. Since opening its doors in 1960, TVC has served more than 70,000 refugee children.

A team of seven educators from Georgia College and Newman University returned to the Tibetan Children’s Villages in June.

They conducted a conference that addressed the goals identified during the March visit.

Four math and science education experts worked with a group of about 30 middle grade teachers sharing teaching strategies that emphasized hands-on approaches and problem solving.

A team of about 35 administrators from multiple TCV schools met to work on democratic leadership and high performance team skills. They applied these skills to draft a revision of the TCV teacher evaluation system.

“This is a great group of people to work with,” said Martin. “They are highly skilled and very motivated. We want to do what they ask us to do. We don’t want this just to be a short-term project, and neither do they - they are looking for a long-term commitment.”

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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