Alumnus Profile - Matthew Ferguson
Matt Ferguson

Alumnus Profile
Matthew Ferguson

Evidence of Matthew Ferguson’s year abroad as a Fulbright Scholar can be found throughout his Darlington High School classroom.

The 2006 Coker alumnus spent a year in Indonesia teaching English, studying the education system and facilitating professional development for teachers before becoming a Curriculum Coordinator and English teacher in Darlington, S.C.

“Many of my students haven’t had the opportunity to travel outside the United States, so I try to bring other cultures into my classroom,” the Hartsville native said as he pointed out a Bali travel book, a painting from a past student in Denpasar, Indonesia, and a statue of the Hindu god of education.

At Coker, Matthew took classes that focused on cross-cultural study and became more aware of global issues. This led to a lifelong dedication to global awareness – an awareness he hopes to instill in his own students, in part by introducing them to other cultures.

“As a Fulbright Scholar, I worked with students from some very prestigious schools,” Matthew said. “I quickly realized my education was on par with theirs. In some ways, mine was more comprehensive.”

The English education and political science double major spent his senior year balancing student teaching and preparing for his year in Southeast Asia. While simultaneously writing lesson plans and a Fulbright proposal, Matthew also studied Indonesian culture and met with professors at Coker to get ready for the experience ahead.

“My professors sat me down and told me what to expect,” he said. “They gave me tons of books to read so I would be fully prepared for what was coming.”

Memorabilia from across the world isn’t the only unique aspect of Matthew’s classroom. With the only room in Darlington High School arranged with tables in a circle instead of desks in rows, he has replicated Coker’s signature classroom model of Round Table Learning.

“Round Table Learning makes a big difference,” Matthew said. “It fosters discussion and participation. It’s how I learned, and I think it’s how my students learn best.”

Besides the academic lessons he learned at Coker, Matthew also learned how to interact with his students.

Each day, before he walks into his classroom, Matthew remembers the compassion and dedication portrayed by his undergraduate professors. He recalls having lunch with professors and being able to call them at home if he needed help on class work.

“This has had the greatest influence on my professional life,” he said. “It’s how I strive to be with my own students.”

Matthew has also earned a master’s degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., and is currently attending the Charlotte School of Law.

“Thankfully, Coker provided me with the tools I needed to succeed as an undergraduate student, a Fulbright Scholar, a teacher and again as student in graduate and law school,” Matthew said.

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