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Living Social Justice

Madrid Teachers

Living Social Justice 05

Education leaders from Spain’s Madrid region want more of their citizens to become fluent in both Spanish and English, and Roosevelt University’s College of Education is helping them do that by providing training in English and teaching methods to a group of Madrid school teachers.

Roosevelt is one of only three universities in the nation, (the other two are Georgetown University and Middlebury College) to partner this summer with the Regional Ministry of Education for the Region of Madrid, providing the ministry’s teachers with intensive English language and teaching methodology training.

“We’re trying to improve our citizens’ command of English and obviously the best start is made in school at an early age,” said Coro Sanchez, an administrator with the regional government of Madrid who will soon be teaching seventh-grade science students in Madrid in both Spanish and English.“We’ve been very pleased to learn how optimistic and efficient Americans are. It’s a good way to be in life,” said Sanchez. “I believe the program will help us become more efficient teachers when we return home to Spain,” she said.

The Roosevelt group, including Sanchez and 32 other secondary science teachers, arrived in Chicago on June 27 and immediately began brushing up on their English and learning new teaching methodology at Roosevelt.

“While Chicago and Madrid are thousands of miles apart, this new initiative is bringing educators from the two cities closer together,” said Caleb Paull, assistant dean of the College of Education and coordinator for the Madrid-Roosevelt teacher training program.

The teachers, who are preparing to one day be able to teach bilingual science to their students in the Madrid region, took an intensive, four-week methodology course in Content and Language Integrated Learning, and an intensive course in language and culture.

“The place and the location for our training have been perfect and all of the material we’ve been using has been very practical,” said Marian Saldana, a 20-year secondary chemistry, math and biology teacher in Madrid’s Regional Ministry of Education school system. “I have been very comfortable at Roosevelt University, and I think people have been doing their best to be helpful,” she said.

Besides tackling lesson plans, concept maps, webquests and other planning aids during 100 hours of contact-training, the Madrid teachers have taken field trips to museums, concerts, theatres and other venues and have been practicing their English with host families whom they have been staying with from throughout the region. The group also has been celebrating Spain’s recent World Cup soccer victory, which they watched on television while in Chicago.

“The best thing about the program has been the different point of view we are getting on teaching including some very different methods for improving science skills,” said Rafael Martin, a biology teacher for 14 to 18-year olds and a vice principal of a secondary school in the Madrid region.

Members of the group will receive certificates of completion during a graduation and farewell ceremony that is being held Friday, July 23 in the University’s 10th floor library. The group then returns home to prepare for the coming school year.

Rubee Fuller, director of the Office of International Programs at Roosevelt University, said Roosevelt is one of only three universities in the nation to participate in the initiative. “This has been a rewarding experience for all involved and we are hoping the partnership will continue and that we will receive another group of teachers from the Madrid region next summer,” said Fuller.

Posted: 07/22/2010