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Parkview teacher heads to Japan

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Sept. 27, 2001
Patti Edwards, a fourth-grade teacher at Parkview Elementary School, is packing her bags for a journey to Japan.
Edwards will leave Oct. 7 and return Oct. 26, as a participant in the Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program. She is one of 200 U.S. teachers from more than 2,000 applicants chosen to promote a greater intercultural understanding between the two countries. The program is administered by the Japan-United States Educational Commission.
The U.S. teachers will begin their visit in Tokyo with an orientation on Japanese life and culture. They will meet Japanese government officials, educators and have direct contact with teachers and students.
Edwards plans to incorporate what she learns on the trip with her popular "Kidsville" model city.
For years, Edwards' classes have added to a large town model in her classroom that has streets, homes, businesses, an airport and everything else the students have decided a community should have.
Her classes do not only study Kidsville, it is a way of life at school where desks are neighborhoods, walkways are streets and elections are held for sheriff and mayor. The students also have their own Kidsville flag.
Edwards began the project to teach her students about their hometown. Through Kidsville, Edwards also instructs her students on state, national and international issues and culture.
She would like to bring back a number of items to share with her students, such as a Japanese newspaper, a Coca-Cola bottle from Japan and maybe Japanese versions of folk tales like "Cinderella" or "Little Red Riding Hood."
During her stay, Edwards will live with a Japanese family so she can learn more about their way of life. She said she plans to have her students explore "A Day in the Life of a Japanese Child" when she returns.
Edwards said she is also interested in the education system in Japan and what motivation parents use to direct their children. She said she wants to learn how teachers are trained in Japan and what continuing education programs they have.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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