The Middlebury Institute is currently hosting 15 secondary school teachers from nine countries for a two-week professional development program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. The program, Classroom Management Strategies for International English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Classrooms Exchange, is part of the English Access Microscholarship Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by FHI 360.
The teachers hail from all over the world—Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Honduras, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Niger, Panama, and South Africa—and most of them are visiting the United States for the first time. In addition to teaching at the secondary level, all of them also teach for the U.S. State Department English Access Microscholarship Programs for underserved youth. Their schedules during two packed weeks in Monterey includes projects, workshops, lessons, presentations and site visits. The teachers have visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and several local schools, explored San Francisco, and enjoyed dinners at the homes of local community members.
“It’s such a privilege to work with these amazing teachers,” says Patricia Szasz MATESOL ’06, assistant dean for Language and Professional Programs, Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation and Language Education “They are working in very low-resource environments, and they understand how English language skills can benefit their communities and give their students a better future.”
“Wonderful,” says Susanna (Sanette) van der Merwe from South Africa of the experience so far. She especially appreciates the opportunity to engage with different faculty members at each school. Her colleagues agree and Prim-Rose (Dudu) Shabane, also from South Africa, adds that her favorite part has been the site visits to local schools. “I have learned a lot that I will take with me to my own classrooms back home.”
“This project has been a wonderful opportunity for the Institute to share its language education expertise as well as to build stronger ties with educators in our local community,” says Szasz. “All in all, it’s the perfect fit with the Institute’s focus on development, language, and the global community.”