Chilean teachers collaborating with Newport Community School

Elementary and middle school teachers from Chile who have been participating in a two-week professional development program designed by Salve Regina are practicing on Thompson Middle School students as part of a collaboration with Newport Community School.

The seven visiting teachers are affiliated with SEDUC, a Catholic education organization that oversees nine K-12 private schools in Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile. The organization is moving toward a dual language delivery model where Chilean students will take 60 percent of their curriculum in English. The visiting teachers are playing a key role at their schools in leading their institutions and students through this significant curricular transition.

Salve Regina’s program assists them in this work and forges connections between the teachers and institutions. Developed by the education and history departments with support from the Office of International Programs, the program is now in its second year. The new collaboration with Newport Community School has given teachers an opportunity to practice what they have learned in a classroom setting with students from Thompson Middle School.

Under the guidance of Dr. Martha Rose, professor of education, the Chilean teachers developed lesson plans that utilized input from other Salve Regina faculty members on culturally relevant pedagogy and second language acquisition. They then executed the lesson plans and observed each other in action to create a dialogue about methodology, which they will continue as they return to their own classrooms in Chile.

The program is intensive – five days per week – and offers daily core academic subject instruction delivered through hands-on, inquiry-based program topics to spur academic development. During their two weeks on campus, the teachers explored new trends in teaching methodologies and learned about American history through both lectures and local excursions.

Salve Regina’s burgeoning partnerships with Chilean students and educators began in November 2015, when President Jane Gerety, RSM, and Erin FitzGerald, director of international programs, visited universities and high schools throughout Chile. Their visit was coordinated by Chilean native and Newport resident James Tencher, and co-hosted by Fernando Valdivia, whose daughter Maria Paz hopes to become Salve Regina’s first exchange student from Chile this year.

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