By Mimi Ensley Dalton Public Schools
After Dalton High School teacher Barbara Brayford travels to China this summer, she will bring back a technologically advanced learning experience for students throughout the district.
Brayford, who teaches world history and economics at DHS, was one of 12 public school teachers selected for involvement in an “immersion experience” in China. Towson University in Maryland heads the trip through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program.
Brayford is flying into Shanghai, where she will study Chinese language and culture. She’ll also see parks and villages in the Three Gorges region and learn about China from an economic perspective in the Southern provinces. Hong Kong and Taiwan are also on the agenda.
All the while, Brayford will take photos and prepare a curriculum for her students.
“When you can tell students real stories and show them pictures and say, ‘I’ve been to this place,’ they remember that,” Brayford said. “I’m hoping to help them make some associations that way.”
The resources she gathers will also be available for use across the district through Instructure Canvas, a program that will allow Brayford to share her photos, videos and links with teachers throughout Dalton Public Schools.
“My personal goal for teaching next year is really working with literacy design and the technology piece and bringing those together,” Brayford said.
But beyond the opportunity to develop media-rich lessons for her students, Brayford said she hopes to develop a more global perspective on China, its history and its current events.
“What I’m really looking forward to is getting a different perspective, getting more of the Asian perspective on business and finance, as an economics teacher especially,” Brayford said. “We have a very preconceived idea of China from what we get in the media, and I want to see what’s going on on that (China’s) side.”
In fact, one of the articles she plans to ask her students to read in the future discusses “Western culture through Asian eyes,” a topic Brayford finds exciting.
“I always love learning the culture and learning the history and seeing the places,” she said.