Teaching in a Distant Classroom: Crossing Borders for Global Transformation, By Michael H. Romanowski and Teri McCarthy
Teaching in a Distant Classroom
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Published: November 18, 2009
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3743
  • ISBN: 9780830837434

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Thousands of North American Christians teach overseas every year. International teaching experiences can be tremendously rewarding. But often teachers are not fully prepared for the challenges of crosscultural life, and many are jolted and disillusioned by the realities of the overseas classroom.

Veteran educators Mike Romanowski and Teri McCarthy provide an essential guide for Christians teaching in overseas contexts. They explain how good teaching requires preparation, self-understanding and cultural skills, as well as a solid philosophy of education and grasp of worldview. Providing both the theoretical framework as well as practical tools, the authors offer concrete advice and real-life examples for classroom instruction, daily life and much more.

Get a more global picture of the kind of transformation your educational work can accomplish. Whether you are a recent college grad or a seasoned veteran educator, this book is an essential companion for your teaching journey.

"There are few people who are qualified to write a book like this. And there are few books that inform, challenge, persuade and entertain like this does. Mike Romanowski and Teri McCarthy have delved deep and produced a stimulating and essential text for those called to Christian teaching across the globe. Don't leave home without it!"

Dr. Elaine Storkey, Vice President, University of Gloucestershire, president, Tearfund, and director of training and education, the Church of England Church Army

"There is no other book quite like Teaching in a Distant Classroom. For years I've been mobilizing young people and retirees to go overseas and teach. I wish I could have put this book in the hands of every one of those young people and retirees that I've mobilized! The book is brutally honest about integrity issues as well as other problems likely to be encountered. While it gives great 'how-to' advice for flourishing in a crosscultural situation, it also deals with foundational questions like pedagogy, philosophy and worldview."

Howard Culbertson, D.Min., professor of missions, Southern Nazarene University

"This is an exciting and instructionally directional book about the most challenging, strategically most potent and yet largely neglected mission field--the university classrooms of our globally interconnected and yet religiously and culturally diverse world. From the wealth of their pedagogical wisdom, plethora of their crosscultural experiences and the depth of their kingdom commitments, the authors persuasively argue and richly illustrate how important knowing is for going and understanding is for teaching. My advice to all who are missional in their international teaching: this book must be read before going and taken along for self-evaluating reference."

Dr. Peter Kuzmic, Eva B. and Paul E. Toms Distinguished Professor of World Missions and European Studies, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and founding president, Evangelical Theological Seminary, Osijek, Croatia

"I sure wish I could have read this book before I began teaching in Nigeria. It's better to learn from its authors than from Hard Knocks University!"

Chuck White, Ph.D., Professor of Christian Thought and History, Spring Arbor University, and Visiting Professor, University of Jos, Nigeria

"Written from passionate hearts aflame for Christ and his kingdom, Teaching in a Distant Classroom is the most authentic, relevant and inspirational professional guide available today for those considering teaching abroad. An inspirational challenge and complete resource for all who teach, this book should be required reading for all Christian college students considering teaching overseas."

Stephen D. Livesay, Ph.D., president, Bryan College

"As president of a Christian college I very strongly recommend Teaching in a Distant Classroom to students interested in international missions (teaching or otherwise) and to all Christian faculty members in the U.S. Romanowski and McCarthy provide practical insights and heartwarming narratives that will help students decide whether teaching abroad is for them and, if so, help them prepare to do so well. All faculty members should read it because it will help them think through what it means to be a Christian who teaches. This book, which could actually be called a survival guide, is invaluable for students who sense God's call to teach overseas as a Christian missionary and for faculty who find themselves increasingly confronting diverse and conflicting worldviews in U.S. classrooms. It should be on every Christian campus in the nation."

Dan Struble, Ph.D., president, Montreat College

"Teaching in a Distant Classroom is a valuable introduction to college teaching as crosscultural ministry. Indeed, as a former college provost who cares a great deal about teaching Christianly, I think that it could be valuable for college teachers anywhere, including Christian colleges in the United States! These days, all college teaching is 'crosscultural ministry.' It is remarkable how little guidance newly minted Ph.D.s have received in the art and craft of good teaching, even if they have some university teaching experience. This book offers valuable introductions to these topics, and much more, including the life of learning as a genuine calling from God, the cultural assumptions behind much of Western college teaching and what it means to be an authentic ambassador of Jesus Christ in all of one's life. This is a wise and practical book, and I hope that many Christian professors will read it."

Joel Carpenter, Ph.D., director, Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity

"Drawing upon their personal teaching experiences in nearly a dozen countries, Michael Romanowski and Teri McCarthy provide a highly useful and practical guide for three groups of evangelical Christians who teach overseas: the seasoned veteran educator with minimal overseas experience; the professional expert who may be highly competent in a specific area, but is not a professional educator, and may also lack extensive overseas exposure; and the recent college graduate who brings energy and enthusiasm to the classroom, but often lacks effective teaching skills and depth of subject-matter knowledge, as well as significant cross-cultural experience. I recommend reading this book before going overseas and then giving it an even more thorough reading after a few weeks in the new country."

Lonna J. Dickerson, EMQ, April 2010

"Teaching in a Distant Classroom is a valuable thought-provoker and helpful-tip-provider for the thousands of Christians who go abroad to teach. It will help such pioneers both to deal with culture shock and to shock students (who may be looking to only learn English) into rethinking their worldview assumptions."

Marvin Olasky, World Magazine, May 22, 2010

"Full of wise counsel and practical teaching advice."

Susan Olasky, WORLD, January 30, 2010


1 Agent 007: The Undercover Christian Teacher
2 What Does My Worldview Have to Do with Teaching?
3 Philosophy of Education 101
4 Curriculum, Schmurriculum: Who Needs This?
5 Teaching Well Is Teaching Good
6 Nuts and Bolts: Practical Applications for Effective Teaching in Overseas Classrooms
7 Qualities of Excellent Teachers: Competencies for Effective Teaching
8 Hey, I Didn't Sign Up for This! Expectations and Accommodations
9 Dealing with Culture Shock
10 Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Conclusion: Hope for the Crossing
Appendix A: Lesson Plan Template
Appendix B: Course Syllabus Template
Appendix C: Teaching Methods and Learning Styles
Dedication and Acknowledgments
Author Index
Subject Index


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Michael H. Romanowski (Ph.D., Miami University) was a full-tenured professor of education at Ohio Northern University when he and his family left for the Middle East, where he is now a professor of education. He has taught short-term in China, Russia, Africa and Afghanistan.

Teri McCarthy

Teri McCarthy (Ph.D., University of Kansas) was director of faculty development and is now writer-in-residence for the International Institute for Christian Studies. She has taught at the university level long-term in China and Russia and short-term in Holland, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Her travel and teaching experiences have taken her to nearly fifty nations.