Report from Teacher in Residence

Deborah Wilkes – Teacher in Residence 2008 1. Purpose and Activities: Main purpose – a)To improve and enhance the teaching of English as a foreign language at the Centro-Boliviano Americano (CBA)-Bi-national Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia through seminars, workshops, classroom observations and collaboration with faculty and center administration. b) To collaborate with local Partners on community projects and build international goodwill Summary of Activities that took place: -conducted classroom observations at CBA and prepared feedback reports -held several meetings with CBA administration and academic planning dept. concerning classroom instruction models, teacher evaluations, course assessments, class schedules and staff development programs -taught daily EFL (English as a Foreign Language) class to teenagers that included conducting assessments, grading, report writing, monitoring of attendance and academic progress, and lesson planning -planned lessons and developed materials for a daily pronunciation class for teachers -delivered pronunciation class for teachers -mentored and coached teachers in strategies of TEFL(Teaching English as a Foreign Language)and pronunciation to students aged 6 to adults -conducted 3.5 hour workshop titled: “Developing Language through Interaction”, an interactive workshop including strategies and activities for developing all language skills, specifically English speaking skills through student-centered instruction. -researched and shared resources and materials with administration and teachers on best practices in TEFL and specific areas of professional interest requested by teachers -attended the 10th ABLA Convention in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, represented the TIR program from Partners and the CBA, Cochabamba and networked with teachers etc. of EFL from across Latin America -prepared and presented a report of findings and suggestions to executive director, academic director and academic coordinator for improving the instruction and delivery of English classes at the CBA-Cochabamba University of San Simon: - met with teachers from the Linguistics Dept and Academic Planning representatives. Discussed lesson delivery methods, student-centered instruction, academic resources and materials and language program design at the university -visited university campus and Academic Planning Dept. Partners- Cochabamba, : -visited various on-going Partners projects – WARMI, SAR, Save the Children, Viedma Hospital (Burn Unit) -shared and exchanged experiences about working with teenagers and outreach programs against teen pregnancy, substance abuse and AIDS -participated in meetings and collaborated with Civic Participation Committee -visited local school, exchanged cultural materials provided by New Horizons Early Learning Center in NC, USA and presented a cultural exchange opportunity between the local and NC school -recruited candidates for pre-school cultural exchange program between Cochabamba (CBBA) and NC and connected contacts with Partners in CBBA 2. Result/Impact: The overall purpose of my trip was accomplished. -I interacted with 90% of the faculty and staff at the CBA in various activities -I prepared lessons and materials for teachers and for my own EFL classes using resources from CBA and those I personally donated to the Center -I planned and presented a global staff development program for teachers, to be implemented on a monthly basis throughout the CBA -I provided feedback in the form of classroom observation reports and personal conferences to 13 teachers whose lessons I observed -I provided specific recommendations to the administrators of CBA in the form of a general report for improving student assessment procedures during and at the end of each course cycle -I provided guidelines in a written report for modifying the teacher evaluation procedures and format at the CBA -I trained CBA teachers (approx. 50) in strategies for promoting language development through student-centered teaching and interaction during a 3.5 hr staff development workshop -I met with leaders and directors of several civic and community service organizations including Search And Rescue (SAR), Save the Children, WARMI and Hospital Viedma where I learned about their programs and the collaboration of Partners with the organization, received copies of their outreach program materials, and heard about areas of need concerning their future development. - I met with a local youth group (4 girls + advisor) who participated in healthy living workshops when younger but who have now become youth health ambassadors within their community to encourage teens to take action to avoid teen pregnancy, substance abuse and AIDS. We shared community presentation ideas, materials and contact information to continue future collaboration of materials and resources. - I met with 5 different teachers from the Linguistics Dept. of the University of San Simon on different occasions to discuss their university programs, shared resource knowledge and educational opportunities for staff development in the area of TEFL. Unfortunately, the involvement of local school teachers etc. was not accomplished since this 5-week TIR program in CBBA was characterized by constant trade union action and political unrest that hindered communication with other professional groups outside the CBA. How host Partners chapter was involved with the visit, also kinds of follow-up activities likely -Social gatherings organized to welcome and share with the TIR -Visits and discussions arranged with organization leaders of projects where Partners in CBBA collaborate -TIR invited to cultural events and family events of Partners members -Cultural Committee of local Partners chapter made contacts and arranged visits with participated in an educational cultural exchange program between preschools in NC and CBBA. -Discussion with Dr, Romero of Burn Unit, Hospital Viedma of need for medial equipment for burn surgery -Follow-up activities will include: -On-going communication via email, blogs etc about the progress of the projects visited (SAR, Save the Children, Youth Leadership Program, preschool cultural exchange program etc). -On-going exchange of materials and resources to be used with Partners projects –Youth Program, preschool cultural exchange program etc -Shipment of medical supplies to Dr. Romero for the Burn Unit -Visit in Fall 2008 of NC artist to CBBA to continue cultural program activities -fundraising for WARMI project within local community in the Expected or anticipated long-term benefits of the visit to the hosting chapter -A continued and strengthened collaboration between CBA, Partners and the different entities involved with the TIR program -Expand the use of the TIR program to improve the quality of the teaching programs -Encourage the CBA Administration and Academic Leadership to establish a long-range cooperative relationship with a University/College Teacher-Education program to provide staff development training to all CBA teachers throughout the year -Encourage a review of the CBA teacher evaluation procedures and promote a more reflective and self-initiated approach to professional development of teachers at the CBA -Encourage the development of student-centered lessons and interactive activities by CBA teachers to promote English language within their classrooms 3. Follow-up 3a. How do you plan to share this experience with your Partners chapters and your community? -Participate in the future selection of TIRs and other cultural exchanges between NC, the Bi-national Center and other academic institutions in CBBA. -On-going collaboration /communication with teachers and administrators at the Bi-national Center and other academic institutions upon return to the -Report on the TIR experience at local Partners meeting and committee sessions -Provide a presentation for the New Horizons Early Learning Center to share experience with students, parents and staff -Use materials and resources collected from various organizations visited in CBBA with bilingual students in community schools in 3b. What follow-up activities do you recommend to continue building on the items carried out during your visit? -More communication and collaboration between the CBA and Partners -Encourage the CBA to use some standard (from the or other appropriate reputable organization) for teacher evaluation to measure the quality of teacher’s classroom work and set and individual “action plan” for improving that teacher’s teaching methods and skills. -Develop incentives for teachers to do lesson planning and require evidence of teacher planning activities before time in the classroom, e.g. review of lesson plans by qualified educator on a periodic basis; in-service training on on-going basis on lesson planning, etc - Develop financial incentives for teachers to participate in on-going staff development to improve teaching skills, e.g. pay them their usual hourly wage while they are in training, give them paid time off for “a job well done,” lighten their teaching load without causing them to loose valuable family income, other incentives to enhance their teaching skills. Build in daily “recovery time” for teachers to plan, grade exams, etc. Limit the hours of teaching per day to preserve the teacher’s energy to excel in their performance without losing income. -Obtain large grant from the US State Department to get consultants from appropriate universities or colleges to survey the teaching program at the CBA, make recommendations for improvement and develop a multi-year plan of implementation.