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Mexico teachers thrive at ASU


Teachers from Mexico at the COMEXUS graduation

Program participants pose with flags at the Summer 2016 COMEXUS graduation ceremony for 150 Mexican K-12 teachers on Tuesday, Aug. 23. The participants completed the six-week program, through Global Launch, helping the educators with skills in teaching English as a second language. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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August 24, 2016

Mastering advanced teaching methods and exploring the latest in technology-infused classroom practices is the intent of an international Arizona State University program that graduated 150 Mexican teachers here Tuesday.

Managed by ASU’s Global Launch office, the six-week Mexico Teacher Professional Development course exposed the English as a Foreign Language educators to different classroom technology tools, funding proposals for technology and lesson preparation for six skills: reading, writing, pronunciation, vocabulary, speaking and listening.

This is the second cohort to arrive at ASU as part of the program that is a partnership with Mexico’s Ministry of Education and the U.S.–Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (COMEXUS), said Shane Dixon, international educator lead for Global Launch.  

“Like the first cohort, these participants came with the intent to share their own teaching expertise with each other,” said Dixon, referencing the initial group that graduated from the course in July 2015. “This group has been amazing and wonderful to work with.”

The program is designed not only for information sharing but also to provide useful tools to put into practice and yield benefits after the participants return to Mexico.

“We need a lot of things in our school, especially internet access,” said Loida Ortega, a high school teacher from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. “One of our major tasks and homework here was to create a project that we can implement in our schools to get our students access to the internet, so they can learn by taking advantage of free online courses.”

Having the project proposal is instrumental to gaining needed support and financial backing from the appropriate authorities in Mexico, said Ortega. Additionally, each participant is also going home with a technology-based proposal to implement an English-teaching program in his or her school.

“This course was a little difficult, but I agree that we need to promote this Arizona State University program,” said Ortega. “I think the program and the connections ASU has with Mexico are very good and we reap the benefits.”

COMEXUS graduation

Claudia Franco Hijuelos, Mexico consul general for Phoenix, speaks at the Summer 2016 COMEXUS graduation ceremony Tuesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

The graduation featured guest speakers Claudia Franco Hijuelos, Mexico consul general for Phoenix; and Hazel Blackmore, COMEXUS executive director. They both praised the students and the program.

“I know firsthand the positive effects of academic exchanges,” said Franco Hijuelos, a former Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship recipient. “This conviction is the basis for the continuing collaboration between the federal government of the U.S. and Mexico to further education, to further research, to further joint skills training, as in your case, and to further innovation.”

Blackmore recognized ASU’s background as an “original teachers college” and lauded the university for its continued commitment to professionalization programs for teachers. She also gave guidance to the 150 teachers selected from a pool of 1,500 applicants and asked them to make a difference.

“You have now a responsibility,” said Blackmore. “You are better as teachers and as persons. You have to make your community, your family, your schools and your students proud of you.”

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