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‘First-hand insight’ as US students visit

Mayor of Carrickfergus Alderman Billy Ashe pictured with student teachers from Anderson, South Carolina. From left: Laura Merk, Ashley Pack, Margaret Hicks (leader), Lindsey Collins, Hannah McKeel and Megan Middleton at the civic reception in the Dobbs Room. INCT 12-008-PSB

Mayor of Carrickfergus Alderman Billy Ashe pictured with student teachers from Anderson, South Carolina. From left: Laura Merk, Ashley Pack, Margaret Hicks (leader), Lindsey Collins, Hannah McKeel and Megan Middleton at the civic reception in the Dobbs Room. INCT 12-008-PSB

Student teachers from the America have gained a first-hand insight into Northern Ireland’s education system after a visit to the borough.

The group, who travelled from Carrick’s sister city of Anderson in South Carolina, arrived in the town on March 8 as part of a teacher exchange programme.

Staying with host families for the week, the delegation also spent time at Sunnylands, Whitehead, Silverstream and Model Primary schools.

Michelle Montgomery, P6 teacher at Model Primary, hosted 21-year-old Anderson University student Lindsey Collins.

“Lindsey came into school with me every day and she was able to sit in on quite a few of the classes; the students were mainly there to observe and see how their education system is different from ours,” Michelle said.

“Where they are from, there are some schools that would have a very low income, so one of the things that Lindsey noticed while she was here was the fantastic amount of resources our schools have.”

Meanwhile, Whitehead Primary hosted fellow Anderson students Laura Merk and Hannah McKeel. “One of the things that struck them was that the way education is delivered here is very much the way they are currently being trained; it’s very child-centred,” said Whitehead principal Jim Loughins.

“Some of the schools they had been in at home were still very traditional in their approach, but here they were amazed at the children’s level of engagement.”

The visit also included a civic reception for the delegation, who were accompanied by Anderson University campus director Margaret Hicks.

The itinerary also saw visits to a number of Northern Ireland’s main attractions, including Stormont, the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, Carrick Castle and Crumlin Road Gaol.

 

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