Book Review: Teaching in a Distant Classroom

Teaching in a Distant Classroom: Crossing Borders for Global Transformation was a pleasant surprise that I ended up liking far more than I expected. Michael H. Romanowski and Teri McCarthy have both taught in a variety of countries around the world. One of the things I appreciated from the get-go was their commitment to high quality teaching that serves the nationals of the country they are working in. He challenges the “hidden agenda” approach of just using teaching as an entry to evangelism. While they tell many stories of witness, it seems these arise invariably from the quality of teaching and the care shown for students.

The book also stresses thinking Christianly about how and what we teach. It encourages examining the worldview of curriculum materials and creatively supplementing these where necessary. The book also addresses the competencies of excellent teachers, practical issues in the classroom and dealing with culture shock. While not a text on teaching English as a second language, the authors do include a chapter on this as well as supplementary samples of lesson plans and syllabi. Each chapter also includes suggestions for further reading, including the works of Comenius–one of the first to think about education!

One of the opportunities that many graduate students and faculty may have is to teach for a shorter or longer term in another country. Some universities such as Carnegie Mellon have even established overseas campuses. This book is a wonderful resource for any who are considering such opportunities.

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Bob Trube

Bob Trube is Associate Director of Faculty Ministry/Emerging Scholars Network, and Senior Area Director for InterVarsity's Graduate & Faculty Ministry team in the Ohio Valley (Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania). He resides in Columbus, Ohio, with Marilyn and enjoys reading, gardening, choral singing, and plein air painting.

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