The goal of the program is for educators in Mexico and the United States to share knowledge and perspectives on educational systems and teaching pedagogies.
August 14, 2019 | Images courtesy of Chris Gellerman
This summer, the Center for Latin American Studies launched the Teacher Exchange Program. Dr. Mary Risner, associate director at the Center, served as the program coordinator in collaboration with Volusia Sister Cities, the Instituto Campechano, and Colegio Xail. The goal of the program is for educators in Mexico and the United States to share knowledge and perspectives on educational systems and teaching pedagogies.
Two teachers from Alachua County Schools, Lynn Hazen and Carolina Currea, along with Chris Gellerman from Volusia County Schools, traveled to Campeche, Mexico to participate in the program. The Florida teachers were hosted by Mexican teachers and participated in a variety of activities held at three different Mexican institutions. This fall, the Florida teachers will host their Mexican counterparts. This exchange allows participants of the program the opportunity to learn about each other's culture through cultural excursions and homestays.
Mexican partner institutions were Colegio Xail, a private school offering IB programs; the Instituto Campechano, a state college; and Prepa Godoy, a public high school affiliated with the University of Campeche. At the schools, Florida teachers observed and interacted with students, participated in discussions with local educators, and participated in cultural excursions. The Florida teachers also shared perspectives on education in Florida during a Regional Educators Conference at the Instituto Campechano.
Before traveling to Mexico, Carolina Currea worked with two teachers from Campeche through a UF Virtual Exchange training where they outlined a module to connect their classes. Through this exchange program, Carolina was able to meet the teachers in person and finalize the details of the project.
“I was very impressed and inspired with the meta-cognition displayed by the Xail students of the Secundaria as they presented their final projects (making a clock) to teachers, staff, and parents,” said Chris Gellermann, a Spanish teacher from New Smyrna Beach High School. “They were able to effectively articulate what they learned throughout the process and why it was important. They did this through an intensive Programa de los Años Intermedios - IB program. Meta-cognition is higher level and difficult to incorporate into lessons. The exposure to their program will be very helpful for my future curriculum design.”
The Center for Latin American Studies USDOE Title VI National Resource Center funds supported the Teacher Exchange Program. The next exchange will take place in June 2021. The Teacher Exchange Program is open to all K-16 teachers from all subject areas, though, priority will be given to CTE, social studies and ELA applicants.
For more information about the Teacher Exchange Program, contact Dr. Mary Risner at firstname.lastname@example.org.