North Texas Daily

Inaugural exchange broadens teaching horizons for students

Inaugural exchange broadens teaching horizons for students

March 06
22:52 2013

Melissa Wylie / Senior Staff Writer

Teachers in training are crossing international borders as part of an inaugural exchange program in the College of Education.

Four students from the University of Seville are visiting from Spain to spend four weeks as student teachers in Denton schools, said Lisbeth Dixon-Krauss, associate dean of teacher education.

At the end of March, four UNT education students will travel to Spain to student-teach in Spanish schools in Seville, Spain.

The new program aims to create a mentorship, pairing a UNT student to socialize with a student from the University of Seville, Dixon-Krauss said. She also said the exchange emphasizes the importance of moving beyond schools in the U.S. to produce better educators, Dixon-Krauss said.

“We just have to do this,” Dixon-Krauss said. “We have to get more global in what we’re doing.”

Texas students seeking teacher certification are required by the state to spend 12 weeks observing and learning at a school, Dixon-Krauss said. The final four weeks of their on-site study will take place in Spain.

“The only thing I’m hoping we can do is expand the time,” Dixon-Krauss said. “If we can make it a semester-length program we can fall under the study abroad category.”

UNT interdisciplinary studies senior Caroline Harris is a participant in the exchange program and is currently student-teaching at an elementary school in Grapevine.

The course requirements for an education major at UNT are rigid and do not provide an opportunity to study abroad, but this program incorporates travel into the curriculum, Harris said.

Harris applied for the exchange program in early November at the recommendation of her professors, she said.

“Having a broadened view will help me in my process of becoming a teacher,” Harris said. “I just have a lot of questions.”

While in Spain, Harris will be staying with one of the students who visited Denton and will be observing the traditions of a Spanish classroom, she said.

“Literacy is a huge focus in America so what I really want to see is how they teach kids reading and writing,” Harris said.

Harris said she is apprehensive about being in a Spanish-speaking country, but her school in Grapevine has a large Latino population, allowing her to practice using Spanish, she said.

Harris said she also hopes to experience the culture of Spain, just as the visiting students are experiencing Denton.

Alejandro Maldonado is one of the exchange students from the University of Seville. As a whole, the group has had many unexpected experiences and have good words for their stay, Maldonado said.

“It’s been a pleasant experience,” Maldonado said. “We are taking back the good things that we have learned, we want to apply a lot of the strategies and the procedures that you have here.”

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