NWU Grad Awarded Rare Fulbright Scholarship Extension
Nebraska Wesleyan University Fulbright Scholarship winner Alicia Dallman has three simple words to describe her opportunities in Cantabria, Spain: “I’m so lucky.”
Dallman, who graduated in 2009 with majors in Spanish, English and secondary education, received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship last year. She intended to teach English and research dual-bilingual education programs in Spain for a year. She assumed she would return home thereafter, begin graduate school and teach high school.
Those plans have been put on hold thanks to administrators with the Fulbright Program who offered Dallman a rare opportunity to renew her Fulbright Scholarship to continue working on a project known as Global Classrooms. As part of her Fulbright Scholarship, Dallman was placed in Cantabria, Spain — one of 24 cities in the world that uses Global Classrooms in its schools. Dallman was responsible for facilitating and implementing the program in a school new to the curriculum.
Global Classrooms is a program designed to foster explorations of international issues as well as encourage the development of higher-level thinking skills and English language proficiency. Secondary school students step into the shoes of United Nations ambassadors and research and debate issues ranging from malnutrition, access to primary education and freshwater resources. After months of preparation, students compete at local and regional conferences with the top students advancing to the Model United Nations Conference in New York.
“I was a little nervous,” Dallman said of learning her responsibilities. “I spent last summer preparing and writing a sample curriculum.”
Her 12- and 13-year-old students spent months researching countries ranging from the Republic of Slovenia to the Central African Republic. When students appeared frustrated, Dallman encouraged their efforts and responded with supplementary activities that incorporated their research.
“When you’re excited, they get excited,” she said. “The material is difficult. These young students were learning words like ‘decorum’ and other difficult words. That’s tough when English isn’t your primary language.”
Dallman was delighted by her students’ results at the local and regional conferences. Their success gave her the opportunity to accompany 10 students to the Model United Nations Conference in New York to compete with other students from across the world.
In addition to implementing Global Classrooms in another school this year, Dallman will study the program’s effect on students’ emotional and social skills.
“The English proficiency is a smaller piece of the puzzle,” she said. “We want to really look at the program and make sure its helping students take a broader look at and have a better appreciation for the world.”
Next summer Dallman plans to return to the United States and teach here.
“And hopefully implement Model United Nations here,” she said. “After seeing how well it works, I’m a believer.”