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Creighton hosts Jesuits, teachers from Northeast India

Visitors from Northeast India in St. John's ChurchFive educators from Northeast India are visiting Creighton University this month, endeavoring to learn new teaching methods to bring back to their home schools.

The group, which includes two Jesuits and three lay teachers from Jesuit schools, comes from the tribal Kohima Region in Northeast India. Jesuits in the region have long had a relationship with the Society of Jesus’ Midwest Province.

Sharon Ishii-Jordan, PhD, professor emerita of Creighton’s Department of Education, and Colleen Chiacchere, MEd, director of the Magis Catholic Teacher Corps, received a Creighton Global Initiative grant to bring the group to campus from Oct. 28 through Nov. 16. The grant involves training educators in new teaching methods and in faith formation exercises.

The five visitors are:

  • Balasis “Bala” Minge, a teacher of Hindi and English at St. Paul School in Phesama, Nagaland;
  • Helenu Chothe Thao, a second-grade teacher at Loyola School in the town of Bishnupur, Manipur;
  • Swedevinu “Carol” Tase, a 10th-12th grade sociology teacher at Loyola School in Kohima, Nagaland; 
  • The Rev. George Vilezo Meze, SJ, principal of St. Xavier’s School in Diyungbra, Assam, who works with the Dimasa tribe; and
  • The Rev. Albert Joseph Swamippan, SJ, principal of the Mater Dei School in the village of Dawagre in the Indian state of Meghalaya.

The Jesuits are staying with Creighton’s on-campus Jesuit community while the teachers are boarding with local host families.

During the trip, the visitors will sit in on Creighton education courses, observe Catholic and public classrooms at area schools, participate in Omaha faith sharing groups and visit local landmarks, Ishii-Jordan says. They will also visit the Red Cloud Indian School on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, as many of the visitors are from indigenous groups, living and working in indigenous communities themselves.

Fr. Meze says he was surprised and encouraged by the level of interaction between students and teachers after observing one of Creighton’s education courses and a local school early in the visit. At his K-12 Jesuit school, where classes can swell to 70 or 80 students, such interaction is difficult, but he’d like to incorporate a more back-and-forth discussion during lessons.

“The difficulty with our teaching system is, we have many students in one class,” Fr. Meze says. “Because of that number, we have some discipline issues.”

Tase, who teaches sociology at the high school level back in India, says she was also inspired by the lesson she observed. Overall, she says, Creighton’s education courses seemed organized and “systematic,” and the students appeared inquisitive and responsive.

“I need to enforce more interaction with (my) students instead of just lecturing,” she says. “(I want to) relate to them in a friendly way.”

Ishii-Jordan, Chiacchere and Jean Hearn, EdD, director of Creighton’s Early Child and Elementary Education programs all have visited schools in Northeast India, and Ishii-Jordan has been involved in teacher inservices in the region for the past 12 years.

“The opportunity to host educators from other areas of the world enriches Creighton’s faculty and students because they learn how best teaching practices in the U.S. must be modified for the different circumstances that exist in global environments,” she says.


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