Online Specialization Offers Improved Training to Mexican ESL Teachers
Georgia State University + Universidad Pedagógica Nacional
With more than 6,000 English language teachers across Mexico’s public schools, the potential for middle school students to improve their language skills is well within reach; however, limited training for teachers remained an obstacle. But through knowledge exchange and technological advances, dedicated faculties at two higher education institutions were eager to set up a framework for sustainable solutions.
Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN) teamed with Georgia State University (GSU) with funding from USAID and Higher Education for Development to tackle gaps in teacher training and fulfill a critical partnership goal: creating an English Language, Learning and Teaching distance learning Specialization. The first module of the online pilot course is already in use by 10 students enrolled from Mexico City, the state of Mexico, and the state of Tabasco.
The key developers and implementers of the course are four Mexican TIES scholars who enrolled at GSU with partnership support to earn their Master of Arts degrees in Applied Linguistics. The TIES scholars learned new teaching methodologies, and presentation, technological and collaboration skills.
The key developers and implementers of the course are four Mexican scholars who enrolled at GSU with partnership support to earn their Master of Arts degrees in Applied Linguistics. The Training, Internships, Exchanges, and Scholarships (TIES) scholars César Maldonado-Garcia, Teresa Muñoz Parra, Francisco Javier Barrón Serrano, and Daniel Loreto Garcia learned new teaching methodologies, and presentation, technological and collaboration skills. Their thoughtful perspective on Mexican culture enhanced the content and structure of the three 12-week modules produced. “The students in the public system will benefit greatly from the better teaching practice of public school teachers by using effective theories that actually apply to the different Mexican settings,” said Cesar Maldonado-Garcia. Since their December 2010 graduation, all have returned to Mexico and sustain their presence in the project, working with GSU and UPN faculty.
Acting as tutors for the project, some of the scholars recognize the importance of shaping the course for Mexicans. “The fact that this Specialization for Mexican teachers will be mostly run by Mexican teachers means that issues which are specific to English language education in the public sector in Mexico are bound to take center stage as the Specialization runs its course,” said Barrón. As the course moves beyond the testing phase, local perspectives will not be overlooked. In June 2011, the TIES scholars, and partnering professors met as a team to further refine the course based on participant feedback.
The specialization was recently approved by the Ministry of Education and included in the catalogue of in-service course offerings for the basic education sector. The offering furthers the Mexican government’s goal of training 100,000 in-service teachers in ESL by 2012.
With USAID support, more than 20 active TIES partnerships throughout Mexico are collaboratively addressing common concerns and advancing Mexico’s competitiveness in the global market.