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Inter-Varsity Press Teaching in a Distant Classroom: Crossing Borders for Global Transformation

The Introduction to Teaching in a Distant Classroom: Crossing Borders for Global Transformation describes its contents, structure, and goals of this book superbly stating, "This book is offered as a vital resource and training manual to equip instructors in grappling with the complexities of teaching" in overseas contexts. If you are planning on undertaking such a venture, this is one book you can't do without.

Authors Michael Romanowski and Teri McCarthy identify 4 types of teachers who will benefit greatly from this book. First is the "seasoned veteran" who has educated professionally and at length in the United States. For this person the goal is to help them understand "teaching overseas as a true Christian mission" and how such a view compliments their expertise in the classroom.

Second, is the overseas teacher the authors label as the "sink-or-swim instructor". Highly specialized in their specific fields, these teachers have little significant teaching experience of any kind, at home or abroad. They lack adjustment both to the classroom in general, but also lack the cultural adjustment and patience that will be required of them in the classroom. Here the goal is to the "sink-or-swim instructor" develop a philosophical and stylistic pedagogy.

Third, is the "recent college grad" who is full of energy, excitement, and motivation and yet painfully(?) naive. Usually these instructors have no pedagogical knowledge, or even the basic skills to even design a syllabus. Here the authors wish to help the instructor recognize how faith should shape their teaching, as well as give guidelines for developing pedagogical understanding of the cross cultural environment.

While these categories are obviously not exhaustive, generally speaking those are planning to undertake overseas missions would do well to heed their instruction. Overseas teaching is fraught with difficulty, and if we can improve our methods and approaches, and our sensitivities, then we will truly be making the impact we signed to make in the first place.
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