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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Bilingual Teacher Training Program offers students onsite training

A Bilingual Teacher Training Program offers New Mexico State University education students the opportunity to learn and work onsite, in a classroom, instead of on campus.

Herman Garcia, bilingual education professor, said the program prepares teachers to work with children that know little to no English. This will allow the child to acquire English while learning other subject matters at the same time.

"One plus one is two in any language," Garcia said.

Garcia said the bilingual program is part of the block system used in the College of Education. The block system, which is broken up into Block A and Block B, allows education students to go to a school to observe and teach for two consecutive semesters. After finishing the two block semesters, students go back another semester to complete their student teaching.

"In this site program, university students get the opportunity to be in an elementary school instead of on campus," Garcia said. "University students immediately get the picture of what is going on in the classroom."

Garcia said the idea for onsite bilingual training came from Robert Gallegos, a former NMSU education professor. Ten years ago, Gallegos coordinated the first onsite school, Hermosa Elementary, where university students taught all subjects.

Since then, two more elementary schools have been added by Garcia, Central Elementary last year and San Miguel Elementary this semester.

While it is too early to do research on the success of the Bilingual Teacher Training Program, Garcia said university students that participate in the block programs have more experience and do better than those that do not.

"It is a very strong program," Garcia said. "The principals and cooperating teachers can see good things happen with our students and their students."

Not all blocks are onsite Garcia. Those blocks not onsite meet for regular class on campus and visit the elementary schools for a few hours during the week. At some point, the College of Education would like to have all university students participating in the block system onsite.