Students from Pontificia Universidad Catholica de Valparaiso in Chile participated in a special ceremony held in their honor on the Western Washington University campus this past week. These students participated for one quarter in Intensive English Program and Woodring College of Education courses.
While at Western, the students took courses in intensive English, but their primary focus was on teaching methods, said Woodring Dean Francisco Rios. This included coursework on curriculum and instruction for secondary education as well as methods courses in English, Spanish, social studies, science and math. The students also were able to spend time in classrooms and schools.
"The students appreciated how much they were able to learn," Rios said. "They wondered how they would take what they experienced here, adapt it and apply it to the school settings where they will begin their student teaching upon their return. We are appreciative of the opportunities these students provided our faculty, staff and students to learn from them as well as the ways in which they extended their hands in friendship."
The program was part of a strong international partnership that Western has with universities in Chile, including the UCV. This is the second year that Western has hosted such students. Western faculty members have done professional development work with their faculty in Chile, and Chilean faculty members have come to Western, Rios said.
"The PUCV students added so much to the IEP classes," said Kris Moore, director of studies in the IEP, who taught many of the students this past quarter. "They broadened our world view by sharing with all of us their ideas, cultural perspectives and their hopes and dreams."
Dean Hagin, of the American University America Program, said he looks forward to more similar programs as Western internationalizes.
"The students provided our campus community a precious opportunity to collaborate in the development and implementation of a successful international partnership," he said.