Fox Creek High School principal Dr. Timothy Murph will head to Brazil on Saturday to get a firsthand look at that country’s educational system.
Murph was selected last year as one of nine principals to participate in the Educational Seminar: 2011-2012 Brazil Administrator Exchange Program. Administrators from Brazil visited Fox Creek in October to learn more about the American education system, met with local and state education officials and visited various cultural sites.
Murph’s upcoming trip to Brazil fulfills the second part of the program. He will visit the states of São Paulo, Rondônia and Ceará. He will spend the next couple of weeks learning about Brazil’s education system and will tour a few schools, including those of the administrators who visited Fox Creek.
Since their visit, the administrators have kept in touch through e-mail and Facebook, Murph said.
“When we learned I will be going to their schools, it was exciting,” he said. “They are excited about me coming to see their schools because when they came here, it wasn’t guaranteed I would get to visit their schools.”
During the Brazilian administrators’ visit, they learned a lot about the American education system and they also learned how useful social media can be in education, Murph said.
He talked with them about how the school uses YouTube to share video of the school’s activities and Facebook to share news. Since their visit, the Brazilian administrators have also created Facebook pages for their respective schools.
“It’s been a great tool for us because it’s free. Back in the old days, you would have to pay for communication tools like the telephone calling systems. Now it’s more effective to use social media because it’s all free,” he said. “Most people have accounts and can keep up with you.”
During his visit, he hopes to also learn how the country’s education system has changed over the past few decades.
“There have been a lot of changes in the American education system in the last 50 years,” he said. “I’m curious where their country is in that development. I’m also looking forward to discovering what information I can take from this experience to use here at Fox Creek.”
Murph will also give presentations to Brazilian administrators, teachers and communities on the U.S. educational system and its school structure, leadership and school management, and the similarities and differences in school management in the U.S. and Brazil.
“I’m going to change my natural presentation style,” he said. “If I was to do a presentation here, it would be structured differently. …I want it to be more visual. I’m going to try to use more pictures and demonstrations instead of just conveying information verbally.”
Murph is also taking along a video camera and a camera to shoot video clips and photos of his trip. After he returns on Aug. 11, he plans to put together a presentation of his trip and present it to students, faculty and staff.
He wants to show them that despite national and cultural differences, the core of education remains the same in both countries, he said.
“I think what’s important is having good teachers with quality students who want to learn,” he said. “If you can stick to those basics, you can be successful.”