Two education students and one faculty member from the Universidad Mayor in Chile will be on campus from February 18 through March 5. Their visit is part of an exchange program that began when Pixita del Prado Hill, associate professor of elementary education and reading, visited the Universidad Mayor as a Fulbright scholar in 2011. She worked with Universidad Mayor’s English pedagogy program, which prepares Chilean students to teach English.
In June 2012, a group of Buffalo State teacher candidates traveled to Chile to take part in a Spanish-intensive program and participate in a service project in Santiago. “That project was modeled on our own Global Book Project,” said del Prado Hill. The Global Book Project takes place on Saturday mornings during the fall and spring semesters at the Wegmans on Amherst Street.
The visitors—students Josefa Castro and Ada Miranda, and program coordinator Lorena Soto—are interested in developing their English pedagogy program. “One aspect of our program that interests them very much is our Professional Development Schools (PDS) Consortium,” said del Prado Hill. “It provides our students with extensive classroom experience beginning early in their college career, and that’s a model they would like to emulate.”
With Castro and Miranda, Soto will give a presentation, “Educational Changes in Chile,” on Thursday, February 28, at 12:15 p.m. in Bacon Hall 117. All members of the campus community are invited to attend.
Castro and Miranda will both complete a 25-hour practicum at the Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy, a Buffalo Public School that partners with the PDS Consortium. “Each student will have the opportunity to work in a dual-language kindergarten and in an eighth-grade Spanish class,” said del Prado Hill. She added that the school is excited to have the guests in the classroom. “It will introduce the young students to people from Chile whose native language is Spanish,” said del Prado Hill.
The Universidad Mayor students will also attend both undergraduate and graduate methods classes here. “Their participation will promote further discussion about working effectively with English language learners,” said del Prado Hill. “This also globalizes the learning experience for our students and faculty, so that we are better able to meet the needs of changing demographics in U.S. public schools.”
Soto will spend most of her time getting a behind-the-scenes tour of Buffalo State in general and the School of Education in particular by attending meetings, visiting PDS partners, addressing student clubs, and taking part in several activities.
“We’re very excited about this visit,” said del Prado Hill. “We all share an interest in language and in effective pedagogy for language learning.”