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Course Syllabus
SOUTH AFRICA: Creative Energy, Social Change, and Knowledge of Place

Summer 2009
Credits: 3 Credits
Instructors: Diane Gayer, (dgayer@uvm.edu); Maggie Sherman, (maggie@handsonproduct.com)

Museum Park, an environmental education centre, Pretoria, South Africa
Class Dates and Times:
June 29 to July 13, 2009
With 2 pre-planning meetings
Tuition and Fees
Participants pay for 3 credits of tuition, as well as a program fee, which includes airfare.
Program Fee: $4,174
Total of Tuition and Program fee for a Vermont Resident:$5, 172
Students also pay the UVM comprehensive fee ($10 per credit in 2008).
Course Description:

Participants will meet with teachers, students, and community leaders in South Africa to engage
in dialogue and shared experience around issues of social and racial justice, arts- and place-based
identities, and geopolitical realities of climate change. This travel experience will lead to a better
sense of South Africa as an example of creative energy, social change, and knowledge of place
which is transferable to our own communities and the work we do at home.

We will build a shared experience through community activities undertaken with local NGOs;
connect with teachers and students in their classrooms and schools; visit key cultural places (e.g.,
Constitutional Court, Apartheid Museum, and Cradle of Humanity). Cultural exchanges are
facilitated through specific activities such as a tree planting in Diepsloot (an informal settlement)
or the making of clayfo o t p rin t s with middle school students in Pretoria; site visits to places like

the People\u2019s Environmental Centre (an urban gardens and recycling project), Constitutional Court
(the new justice center), and Robben Island (prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27

Dialogue will occur around informal dinners with local educators as well as meetings with local
leaders. The teaching focus is experiential engagement and cross-cultural involvement.
Understanding of the complex and interwoven issues of South Africa will be arrived at through

reading, dialogue, hands-on activity, and reflection. Identity and pride of place are strong in
South Africa for both whites and blacks. This identity with place shows up in the creative energy
brought to music and art, but also in the strength South Africans collectively brought to effect
change in their country. Can this same creative energy be transferred to affect needed
environmental and social change in our own country? How can our study, personal interactions,
and projects result in developing deeper understandings in our own relationship to place?

Participants will stay together in an environmental education center with cooking and meeting
facilities. Those taking the course for credit will be expected to do preliminary research and work
on their study projects during the two weeks\u2014time will be available during the evenings for
dialogue with guests, informal interviews with teachers and community leaders, reading, and
journal writing. The daytime activities are programmed to provide the various study projects
background material, as well as, exposure to the complexities of another culture and place. The
final projects are not due until three weeks after the return.

Travel study courses are offered for three (3) graduate credits through UVM. A credit-free option
is also available. Each course consists of three phases: pre-trip, in-country travel, and post-trip.

During the pre-trip phase, all participants join with the instructor(s) to discuss shared readings as
a means of orientation to the country, as well as addressing the specific foci of the course. An
online forum will be used to facilitate participant introductions and discussions during this phase.
Two face-to-face meetings will be scheduled for group camaraderie and to discuss travel

In-country travel includes the planned itinerary. The course itinerary involving all participants

will include visits to schools, communities, historic sites, meetings with local community leaders, hands-on projects, dinners, and group discussions. Time will be structured to allow participants to begin their particular projects.

The final phase,post- tr a v el, involves completion and evaluation of the project, most frequently
\u201ccurriculum development.\u201dThis may be accomplished individually or in conjunction with other
teachers (see below).
\ue000 To develop an understanding of global issues by exploring South Africa as a case study
and reflection of our own geopolitical identities
\ue000 To use this new information in developing\u201cequity and cultural diversity\u201d or \u201cplace-based
learning\u201d in classroom curriculum
\ue000 To share knowledge and curriculum with others
Learning Outcomes:
\ue000 To analyze a class of students for differences and similarities in cultural heritage, identify
potentially unequal learning opportunities, and respond with culturally responsive and
equitable curriculum design
\ue000To use the research base in your subject area and exposure to the complexities of South
Africa to inform and develop a plan for improving your teaching and your curriculum
\ue000 By the end of the course, complete a Vermont Standards-based unit of instruction for
use in your curriculum.
General Course Information

Create an individualized study project -using the travel study course as the
foundation for further research, identify specific areas of interest in history,
geography, the arts, literature, anthropology, world languages, the physical
sciences - among a wide range of possible research areas - and then design your
own unique study project. Connect this research to your classroom curriculum and
professional interests.

Interdisciplinary Team Projects - Join with other teachers to pursue common

areas of interest or collaborate on curriculum design. This study option is ideal for
teachers from the same school planning interdisciplinary curriculum projects; or
for teachers from different schools who may join with others to share common
research interests.

How Do I Develop an Independent Study Proposal?
Either on your own, or in collaboration with other teachers, complete the following questions and present
to the faculty for approval prior to acceptance into the course.

Although travel locations are selected based on our assessment of them serving a broad teacher
audience, each travel study course has unique resources. Your proposed project should reflect available
resources and topics for the region being studied. Basic research and discussion with the faculty as you
develop your proposal may help identify possible themes.

When will I have time for my independent research while on the travel study course?

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