C.S. Lewis, a bi-lingual High School in Bratislava, Slovakia, is training future leaders for the country. The learning model is based on the work of its namesake, C. S. Lewis. MSU-B education students have had the opportunity to do their student teaching at C.S. Lewis while students from C.S. Lewis have come to Billings to spent a semester at MSU-B, with help from a MasterLube scholarship fund. Cali Freier was one of the first MSU-B students to do her student teaching there. Here is her story:
C.S. Lewis High School shows its history. Built during communist rule, it’s plain exterior is beginning to show it’s age, said Cali Freier, a student teacher from Billings who taught for a semester at the school. What’s inside is a real treasure. Inside those walls are first generation bi-lingual students with a passion for learning, and their school, C.S. Lewis, represents the most progressive movement in education in all of Slovakia if not all of Central Europe.
They rely heavily on proficient English speaking teachers, and that’s where Cali, 24, gained an opportunity to teach there. She was welcomed by the staff with open arms and easily accepted by the students. She taught math, and was surprised by her student’s enthusiasm and drive to learn.
“They are under the impression that their education was their responsibility, which was a huge breath of fresh air compared to the students in the U.S.,” Cali said.
The students would frequently find her for extra help when they needed it. Unlike the U.S. which focuses on the lecture model of teaching, the students at C.S. Lewis High School are taught to investigate independently to learn the material.
The experience left her somewhat disenchanted with the American model of education, but Cali isn’t ready to give up on a career in education just yet. She’s decided to take a break before going into the classroom full time.
The experience also afforded her an opportunity to travel. While she was staying in Slovakia she visited 10 other European countries. She is now hooked on international travel. She’s found a way to feed the travel bug working for Disney Cruise Lines, where she runs children’s programs. She’s now been to 30 different countries.
She visits her hometown, Havre, Mont., several times a year, but even when she’s there she longs to travel.
“It’s great to be home for a week, then maybe another week, but after that I realize that I want to go and meet new people and see new places,” she said.
Cali still plans a career in education, but for now, she’s loving what she’s doing.
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