Top United States Retreats

Smoky Mountain Seminar: Training and Development In Cross-Cultural + Experiential Education

About This Event

A rejuvenating and practical skills-training to increase student safety, leadership capacity and facilitation skills in cross-cultural settings.

Tuition: $1,050

Number of Participants:  30


 Join us as we bring together a dynamic cohort of educators from your region to train skills, learn from colleagues, and reinvigorate global programming.

 Offered in collaboration with the Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School’s Program for Global Citizenship, this two-and-a-half-day training and retreat engages participants in a facilitated group experience exploring critical skills related to student group management, risk management and ethical community engagement. Appropriate for leadership teams who work together on student programming, it is designed for all teachers and administrators working in cross-cultural programming environments.

This professional development training in global experiential education delivers on multiple levels, offering participants a shared experience that mimics the phases of a group life-cycle, and draws from the landscape and group dynamic to provide learning that can be reapplied to student programming. Simultaneously, we offer a training curriculum that includes a skills-training in the unique aspects of global and experiential education pedagogy, including tone-setting and container building, risk management, facilitation in a cross-cultural context, community engagement, and transference. Finally, through the course-progression, participants should expect to share their own experiences, insights and lessons learned with colleagues, forming meaningful and valuable collegial relationships that they can draw from as ongoing resources and inspiration for years to come.

Each Regional Educator Training is co-hosted by a local retreat center dedicated to the practice and expansion of global education worldwide. We believe that your experience should be rejuvenating, insightful and inspiring. As a pedagogical strategy, and in alignment with student programming, we invite you out of your familiar environment and into a rustic, potentially challenging and awe-inspiring locale to help foster deeper relationships with colleagues and with self. Trainings are also co-hosted by a local school partner or partners particularly dedicated to best practices cross-cultural and experiential education. If you are interested in co-hosting a regional training in your area, please be in touch!

If intentionally facilitated, Global Education programming has the potential to peel back the layers of personal and cultural identity, offering a designated space to challenge value-systems and worldview. In this liminal space, educators are offered a unique opportunity to support the process of transformative learning. Join us to learn more about how this process can be facilitated and the unique skill-sets required to be effective in facilitating transformative learning for students.


Regional Training itineraries are designed to provide learning through experience by paralleling a student course progression while simultaneously teaching to thematic modules. Within each module, we engage in dynamic and experiential activities that train to new models, tools and strategies for working with students on global education programming. While the exact content of each workshop may vary, the thematic and experiential flow is consistent across regions.


How do we intentionally set a tone for depth, curiosity, safety and trust? This session begins to reveal a shared mental model for the essence of our work in global experiential education and frames the goals for the experience and training to come. We begin after lunch, with several sessions focused on tone-setting for depth of engagement, safety, curiosity and individual ownership. This afternoon will be mostly experiential as we begin to get to know who is in the room and intentionally build a collective group identity.


 How do we get the most learning from place, self and the group? How do we identify, assess and mitigate risks on course? Today is focused on group management, risk management, and the important balance between discomfort, challenge, safety, and transformative learning. We begin our morning with a focus on the unique skill-sets related to group forming and facilitation and transition into small-group sessions focused on skill-building and tool sharing for generating student buy-in, briefing and debriefing strategies and building in student progressions towards empowerment and leadership. In the afternoon, we shift gears to focus on skills related to risk management. Focusing briefly on pro-active risk management, we shift to skills of identifying, assessing and decision-making around specific activities and risks in-country. Through actor-based scenarios and case-studies participants build decision-making and judgment skills for responding to issues in the field. After a daily debrief we break before dinner and come back together for a communal meal and fire circle.


 How do we ensure that each cross-cultural exchange is educational and ethical? How do we integrate profound experiences into the rest of a student’s life? We conclude with strategies for student-community engagement and appropriate closure to the experience. Today's workshops delve more deeply into the culture concept and assuring that we as educators take a lead in drawing awareness to students notions of cultural identity, ethnocentrism, race, power and privilege. We explore best practices in setting up student homestays and take a critical approach to international service learning, focusing on strategies and tools for improving our relationships with communities.

For more information about this retreat and to enroll, please click here.

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