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New Mexico State University

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NMSU to host Ecuadorean teachers in Go Teacher professional development program

The Ecuadoreans are coming! The Ecuadoreans are coming!

In a program funded by the Ecuadorean government to improve English education in that country's schools, New Mexico State University will soon be hosting more than 50 Ecuadorean teachers in a two-semester program designed to both increase their English language fluency and expand their knowledge of current English language teaching methodology.

The program is called Go Teacher.

This first NMSU cohort of Go Teacher participants, who will be living and studying on the NMSU campus between Jan. 15 and Aug. 15, is likely to be followed by additional groups in later semesters.

The Ecuadorean Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT) has budgeted $10 million per year over a three-year period to send 3,000 teachers to North America for this training.

Kansas State University is the lead Go Teacher institution. NMSU is one of three U.S. universities currently working with K-State to implement the program. Also participating are the University of Kentucky and Valparaiso University; the University of Arkansas is expected to join the group.

NMSU was selected to participate on the basis of its strengths in bilingual education and the teaching of English as a second language.

At NMSU, the program is being coordinated by the new Center for English Language Programs housed in the Office of International and Border Programs. CELP will also offer the English language instruction for the participants. The pedagogical component will be delivered by faculty in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education. The program will also incorporate the skills of graduate assistants, student workers and perhaps master teachers from local schools.

"This is exactly the kind of initiative that we need to see more of," said Cornell Menking, associate provost for international and border programs. "It simultaneously addresses many of the objectives of comprehensive internationalization of the NMSU campus. It brings very interesting international visitors to campus, gives our community a chance to interact with them, allows our faculty to make a significant difference in another country and helps generate some revenue that can be reinvested into internationalization activities that benefit our students and faculty."

In addition to the intensive academic experience the program entails, it will include a number of cultural activities, such as excursions to various New Mexico destinations and the observance of holidays.

The Ecuadorean teachers accepted into the Go Teacher program were screened by SENESCYT and have all formally agreed to complete the program successfully and teach English in Ecuador for at least two years.

"This particular program is a cooperative effort between our office and the College of Education, but I fully intend for it to be a prototype for future special programs that will offer customized certificate training programs in virtually any discipline," Menking said. "Many countries around the world are clamoring for such programs and we hope to develop a more entrepreneurial culture at NMSU to respond accordingly."

For more about NMSU's international programs, go to http://international.nmsu.edu/.