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Foltz Visits Japan To Gain Perspective

Alice Foltz loves to travel. The Centreville resident and Potomac Falls High School social science department chair is now participating in the three-week Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program which began in November. “The program was founded by Japanese scholars who studied in the United States with Fulbright funds,” Foltz said. “Japanese alumni set up the program, honoring their experience.”

Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas proposed the international education program in 1945 to encourage international relations programs and help foreign students come to American universities.

The program is for teachers and administrators around the United States. Some 200 U.S. teachers participate in the program each year.

THE APPLICATION process was extensive, Foltz said. The application required teachers to submit teaching plans and essays about how they would apply their experiences to their curriculum.

“I am particularly interested in how Japanese teachers teach about World War II,” Foltz said. “I requested to talk to teachers about World War II and standardized testing, a real challenge for teachers I work with and myself. Japan has many years experience with high-stakes testing.”

Of the 2,500 applicants, Foltz was chosen as one of 200 U.S. teachers to participate in the program.

Potomac Falls High School fine arts department chair Elaine Nunnally participated in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Teacher Fund program three years ago.

“I told her about it,” Nunnally said. “She is an excellent teacher. She is so warm and friendly. I can see her sharing this experience in a creative way with her students.”

After her trip to Japan, Nunnally shared photographs of her trip with her students.

“I made rice for my kids and taught them how to use chopsticks,” she said. “I made them green tea. Most of my students had never tasted it. I also brought back a Kimono for them to try on. They will remember that.”

FOLTZ LEFT FOR Tokyo, Japan, on Nov. 20. Before her departure, she was busy making lesson plans and meeting with her substitute teacher. “The biggest challenge is getting ready,” Foltz said. “But my students will be busy while I am gone.”

Married to the Rev. Jerrold Foltz, Alice's trip includes one week in Tokyo, one week in Okinawa and one week traveling. While in Okinawa, she will live with a Japanese family.

“I am doing a home stay,” Foltz said. “They may or may not speak English. I do not speak Japanese.”

Potomac Falls High School principal David Spage described Foltz as a student among students.

“She is constantly seeking to grow professionally,” he said. “I hope she gains a better understanding of Japanese culture and applies that to what she teaches and how we do education here.”

Foltz looked forward to speaking with Japanese teachers and officials.

“I hope to learn a great deal about Japanese life and culture today,” Foltz said.