The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program at the Middlebury Institute includes a practicum portion, which combines reflective practice and professional development in preparing students for a career in language education. Mary Njuguna MATESOL ´20 is currently completing her practicum with two organizations: the International School of Monterey (ISM) and the English for Academic and Professional Purposes (EAPP) program (EAPP) at the Institute.
Tell us about yourself and where you are doing your practicum?
I am from Kenya and I am doing my practicum in two locations via Zoom, the EAPP program at MIIS with Professor Marie Butcher and at ISM with Amy Sullivan.
How did you secure these practicum positions?
I had previously conducted a classroom observation with Amy Sullivan during the Principles and Practices of Teaching II course. Prior to this, Professor Kathi Bailey had connected me with Amy because I was interested in conducting an informational interview to learn more about K-12 international schools Furthermore, my career goal is to work in a K-12 international school setting either in the United States or abroad.
For the EAPP program practicum, I had a chance to observe Rogers Walker class during my first semester. When I was looking for a practicum position, I contacted Rogers to see if he had any open positions at the ESL program, but he did not due to the COVID 19 situation. Nonetheless, he suggested I contact Marie Butcher in the EAPP program to see if she had any open positions. She did and I started my practicum position with her.
What does your position entail?
My position at ISM entails collaborating with Amy to design lesson plans, create interactive activities, research online teaching strategies and tools, co-teach with Amy, and prepare asynchronous activities for students.
My position at EAPP entails collaborating with Marie to design interactive lesson and activities, co-teach some of the lessons, facilitate panel discussions, prepare asynchronous activates and provide feedback to students.
The only difference is that EAPP context is for graduate students whereas the ISM position is with K-5 learners. Different audiences and foci.
What is one specific project you are a part of that you have spent the most time on, and what are your roles in that project?
I would say writing my curriculum proposal is the one project I have spent a lot of time on. The context for this curriculum proposal is K-5 learner at ISM. The roles include:
- Conducting extensive research of the theoretical and pedagogical framework to support my finding based on the need’s assessment and context.
- Triangulating needs assessment by conducting textbook analysis, student questionnaire and conducting several interviews with Amy to understand the needs of the students.
- Meeting with my instructor, Professor Heekyeong Lee, to go through my paper and talk about any challenges I might be facing and seek for advice.
What did you learn at MIIS and TESOL/TFL that has been beneficial for your duties in your position?
I would say the combination of all the courses at MIIS have been helpful in informing my pedagogical decision in designing lesson plans and activities for learners.
What has been an unexpected challenge you have faced in your practicum?
Definitely distance learning and teaching. It is a whole new dynamic which requires different tools, knowledge, and skills as compared to in-person learning.
What are your plans after you’re done with your practicum?
I plan to shoot for the stars and get my dream job. Working in K-12 International School setting either in the States or abroad.
Do you have any advice for current and future TESOL/TFL students?
My advice would be to keep challenging yourself. Magic happens when one gets out of the comfort zone.
For More Information
The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies (MIIS) includes a Practicum portion, which combines reflective practice and professional development in preparing students for a career in language education. We caught up with David Gumbiner MATESOL ‘21 who is currently completing his practicum with two organizations: the International School of Monterey (ISM) and ChatEng.
As part of the International Professional Service Semester, Bailey Warren MAIEP ‘20 is interning with Wildcoast, a nonprofit environmental organization based in San Diego, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a Switzerland-based conservation and sustainability-focused organization.
The U.S. Department of State recognized the Middlebury Institute of International Studies with the English Language Fellow Top Producing Institution Award on the 50th Anniversary of the program.