May 02, 2011
An education professor at St. John’s University has won a
Fulbright- Hays grant to lead a summer course in Vietnam that she
created to give New York City public school teachers a greater
understanding of Vietnamese language and culture.
Yvonne Pratt-Johnson, Ph.D., a professor in
The School of Education at St. John’s, received the
prestigious, $90,000 Fulbright- Hays grant to bring eight K-12
teachers to Vietnam for six weeks this summer. The program will
take place from July 5 to August 19, 2011.
“ I wrote the grant to address an often overlooked need in our
city’s public schools,” said Dr. Pratt-Johnson. “We have a fair
number of Vietnamese students in New York City’s public schools,
and the number is growing. Yet many teachers are totally unfamiliar
with these students’ language and culture.”
Dr. Pratt-Johnson believes the six-week “
immersion” will help teachers to better understand “the
cultural nuances that may lead to miscommunication in the
classroom.” By learning more about the culture, she added, teachers
can “become culturally competent in the classroom.”
Through the grant, the course covers participants’ visa fees,
airfare and transportation to and from U.S. airports. Also included
are tuition at Thai Nguyen University; 96 hours of Vietnamese
language training; breakfast, lunch, dinner and special “banquets”;
shared accommodations; all books and materials; admission to all
sites; and transportation throughout Vietnam.
At Thai Nguyen University, participants will study basic
Vietnamese and attend lectures on Vietnamese history and culture.
Participants also will visit Vietnamese schools and cultural sites
throughout the country.
Though this is the first Fulbright- Hays grant Dr. Pratt-Johnson
has received solely based on her own proposal, she did help draft
an earlier Fulbright- Hays proposal with another professor in The
School of Education in 2008, when she created a month long course
that took students to the Dominican Republic.
“I believe in the value of studying abroad,” said Dr.
Pratt-Johnson. “I look forward to developing similar courses in the
future, perhaps bringing students to other parts of the world. Next
year she will bring a group of students to Europe,” where students
could take advantage of St. John’s Rome, Italy, campus
Paris, France, location.