Woodring’s TESOL program partners with Taiwanese teachers

Alyssa Evans
for Western Today
  • Photo by Connor Jalbert / for Western Today
    Photo by Connor Jalbert / for Western Today
  • Photo by Connor Jalbert / for Western Today
    Photo by Connor Jalbert / for Western Today
  • Photo by Connor Jalbert / for Western Today
    Photo by Connor Jalbert / for Western Today
  • Photo by Connor Jalbert / for Western Today
    Photo by Connor Jalbert / for Western Today

Western Washington University welcomed 20 Taiwanese elementary and middle school teachers to campus for its third year of a summertime five-week teaching course on Monday, July 4, 2016.

The teachers are visiting campus through a partnership between Woodring College of Education’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program and the National Taiwan Normal University. They will be in Washington state through Aug. 6.

While the teachers are on campus, they will participate in a variety of activities to enhance their teaching skills in the classroom. In addition to pedagogy, specialized workshops and exploring the area, the teachers will be paired up with a TESOL student through the Cloud Project.

The Cloud Project is a three-quarter-long program in which Taiwanese teachers and their students, Woodring faculty and TESOL students participate in a series of virtual meetings where the TESOL students teach English lessons via Skype.

While at Western, the Taiwanese teachers, Woodring faculty and TESOL students are currently working on putting together lessons, practicing them and getting to know each other. During winter quarter the TESOL students and Woodring faculty will travel to Taiwan to visit the classes in person.

This is the Cloud Project’s second year. A combination of 10 Western faculty and students are involved in the program.

“The idea was that the program would be very motivating for students and teachers in the classroom,” TESOL Program Director Trish Skillman said.

In addition to the Cloud Project, the Taiwanese teachers will attend TESOL classes with the TESOL students, where they will collaborate to teach Spanish-speaking students through Western’s Language Adventures Summer Program. Two teachers from Mongolia will also be involved for two weeks of the program.

“It’s so international and it’s a win-win for everyone. The Taiwanese teachers, students and faculty get to help teach Spanish speaking youth,” Skillman said.

Participants will also spend their time participating in TESOL pedagogy, specialized workshops, school visits and exploring the area by going to places such as Mt. Baker and Western’s Lakewood Watersports Facility.

“Not only do they learn, but they get a cultural exploration of the area,” Skillman said.

Skillman hopes that participants benefit from the interactive lessons so students are engaged and have a positive cross-cultural experience. She also hopes the program helps TESOL students feel better prepared to teach English, Skillman said.

“A lot of people don’t realize how enriching international experiences are. We hope to have lasting relationships with these teachers,” Skillman said.

Western’s interdisciplinary TESOL certificate program is designed to prepare students with the skills and experience to teach English to speakers of all languages. For more information, visit wwu.edu/tesol.

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Friday, July 8, 2016 - 4:30pm

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