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K-State Today

June 7, 2012

English for Ecuador: International partnership brings Ecuadorean teachers to campus for English program

Submitted by Rosanna Vail

A new program through Kansas State University is helping teachers from Ecuador become more proficient in English while learning how to teach English as a second language to students in their country.

The GoTeacher program, a partnership between Kansas State University, Ecuador's Ministry of Education and SENESCYT, Ecuador's governing body of higher education, is bringing more than 80 teachers to the Manhattan campus. Kansas State University is the first institution in the nation to host a group for this program, with classes beginning in June.

The program is funded by the government of Ecuador to improve English language proficiency among Ecuadorean teachers and increase their teaching effectiveness. It is expected to extend over a three-year period, with Ecuador's government setting aside $10 million in funding for each year of the program.

"K-State is in a unique position to work with the government of Ecuador to train their teachers to excel in teaching English in the classroom," said Sue Maes, the university's dean of continuing education. "With the combination of the English language program in the office of international programs and English as a second language program in the College of Education, these students will not only improve their spoken English, but will model good teaching techniques in classrooms throughout Ecuador."

GoTeacher students are college graduates with current teaching positions in Ecuador who meet English language proficiency requirements to complete Kansas State University course work as nondegree-seeking students.

"They will contribute a richness and diversity within the classroom that can open up a world of opportunity," said Mary Wood, director of the English language program at Kansas State University. "Students will be able to help increase English proficiency among Ecuadorean high school graduates who go on to pursue higher education either in their country or the U.S. This helps improve their country's infrastructure."

Students will learn from the university's English as a second language curriculum, which is nationally recognized and has been replicated by several institutions. It prepares educators planning to teach abroad as well as in the United States.

"We teach the 'biography of the individual,' where one teaches English to the whole person or child, taking into account their academic background and what engages or doesn't engage the student in learning another language," said Socorro Herrera, professor of elementary education and director of the College of Education's Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy. "You don't limit yourself to learning a language; you also learn the culture of the language."

Through the program, the university wants to help forge an era of increased globalization, not only at the college level, but also in public schools, according to Herrera. An enrichment event in Kansas City later this summer will allow Ecuadorean students to work directly with K-12 students in a hands-on public school setting. School districts involved are from Olathe and Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.

"This exemplifies what is possible when there is a strong team effort by the university to be passionate and committed to opening doors with another country," Herrera said.

On-campus partners in the program include the Kansas State University Office of International Programs, College of Education, Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy and Division of Continuing Education.

The university's online master's degree in English as a second language is available for GoTeacher students wanting to continue learning through K-State once they complete their summer program in Manhattan.

Arrangements for additional groups of GoTeacher students from Ecuador are in the works for upcoming terms.

The program will kick off at 8 a.m. Friday, June 8, at the Derby Dining Complex. The university's April Mason, provost and senior vice president, and Marcelo Sabates, interim associate vice provost for international programs, will provide opening remarks.

Learn more about the program by contacting the Division of Continuing Education at 785-532-5575 or 1-800-622-2578, or informationdce@k-state.edu.