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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Around the World in 180 Days: An Effective, Weekly Program for Enhancing Multicultural Social Studies Content in the Elementary Classroom

Alison Asher Dobrick.

This workshop introduces a research based, exciting weekly program that can be used at the upper elementary level to enhance students’ understanding of the cultures of the world. Many American elementary level students do not learn to address their provincialism and their lack of knowledge about the world’s diverse cultures until they attend high school, at which point prejudices and misconceptions are often well entrenched. Within the context of an extreme nationwide focus on standardized testing in reading and mathematics, Florida is representative of many states in its lack of resources for teaching Social Studies in the elementary classroom. The “Around the World in 180 Days” program gives teachers a way to assist students in actively creating a cognitive framework for social studies knowledge. Students create “passports,” and each week, the class “visits” another nation, learning about its history, geography, cultural achievements, and current events through technological and other aids. In this workshop, research on this program’s effectiveness will be presented. Additionally, the role of teacher education in providing cultural knowledge and the role of the teacher him or herself within the context of the widespread lack of social studies resources will be debated. The importance of this program to diverse classrooms in America and elsewhere will be examined as well. Participants in this workshop will receive a packet of materials designed to allow teachers to bring this program to life in their classrooms and schools.


Alison Asher Dobrick  (United States)
Doctoral Student
Department of Teacher Education, College of Education
Florida Atlantic University

Alison Asher Dobrick, M.Ed., is a doctoral candidate in Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. While working toward this degree, Mrs. Dobrick acts as a graduate assistant, assisting professors with their research and publications. She has taught at the elementary school level for five years and is active in all aspects of school life. She presently teaches fourth grade at a public, community school in Boca Raton, Florida, where she also acts as the advisor for the school’s student government and edits the school’s newspaper. Mrs. Dobrick has engaged in several local, national and international professional development opportunities. In the summer of 2001, she traveled to Japan as part of a Fulbright delegation of educators. In Japan, Mrs. Dobrick observed in schools at all levels, presented information about American education, and engaged in discussions with prominent government and educational officials. Mrs. Dobrick has also participated in the national conference of the Assessment Training Institute in Portland, Oregon, as well as numerous local workshops, including Power Writes, Science Inquiry, African American History and others. Additionally, she published and presented her research on programs designed to help African American students succeed through Florida Atlantic University’s Research Symposium (2002). In 2000, Mrs. Dobrick’s essay on AIDS awareness and activism in the schools won the first place award, was published and was shared orally with a large audience as part of Florida Atlantic University’s AIDS awareness program. Mrs. Dobrick holds two Bachelor’s degrees, in English Literature and Philosophy, from Brandeis University, and two Master’s degrees, in Elementary Education and in Multicultural Education, from Florida Atlantic University. She looks forward to completing her doctoral work, teaching at the college level, and continuing her travels throughout the world.

  • Multicultural
  • History
  • Social Studies
  • Elementary
  • United States
  • Diversity
  • Culture
  • Geography
  • Florida
  • World history
  • Global education

(30 min Conference Paper, English)