Technology is changing the role, benefits, ease, and simplicity of finding and taking part in teacher exchange programs today. Teacher exchange programs serve as a cultural learning experience for teachers and as a means for expanding and enriching an educator's pedagogical expertise. Through various organizations and their content-rich websites, educators and administrators can easily find an exchange program that suits their background in the sector of the globe of their choice. With the world's increased connectivity, once abroad, teachers can feel less distant and even be in instantaneous contact with friends and family from home. Under these circumstances, teacher exchanges are increasing in popularity and will continue to do so.
Teacher exchange programs and/or services have been in existence since the first part of the twentieth century. The first recognized program, the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program, was established in 1946 with the purpose of increasing mutual understanding of the people of the United States and people of other countries (Fulbright, 2009). It was the flagship international exchange program sponsored by the United States government and it still is the most recognized teacher exchange program in the United States (Fulbright, 2009).
With the increase in global awareness of the world's citizens, teacher exchange programs and/or services are increasing in number and participation. Upon graduation from college many students are choosing to begin their careers teaching English abroad and these are often the same students, or educators, who choose to participate in career exchanges later in life. With new programs available, to include Invisible Children Teacher Exchange Program and the Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development, teachers are able to explore these new realms of global citizenry and connectedness while also expanding their educational repertoire.
Classroom Teacher Exchange. (n.d.). Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program. Retrieved August 4, 2011, from http://www.fulbrightteacherexchange.org/cte.cfm