Student Teaching Experience

Nov. 8, 2013 - by dphawkins

Costa Rica

Student Teaching Experience: Costa Rica

 
By Kelsey (Luffman, '13) Beck

CostaRicaWFThe School of Education at MNU does more than teach about teaching—they push aspiring educators to get in the classroom, learn experientially and make a difference in the lives of students.

One opportunity for teacher candidates to do just that is MNU’s student teaching experience in Costa Rica. In this program, participants complete five weeks of student teaching at an international school, earn additional academic credit by taking a Spanish course and explore the breathtaking beauty of the Costa Rican landscape.

MNU is one of only two universities in the state of Kansas to offer an international student teaching opportunity. One key reason why MNU does so is to equip teacher candidates for the ongoing shift in student demographic. From 1998 to 2008, the number of English Language Learner (ELL) students in the U.S. grew by more than 50 percent. That’s why Ramona Stowe, PhD, coordinator for MNU’s ESOL program, says cross-cultural experience is increasingly important for aspiring teachers.

“As our teacher candidates transition into their first teaching positions, they will be walking into classrooms that may have a very diverse student population,” Stowe says.

Dana John (’12), who participated in the program in fall 2012, is now working as a special education paraeducator at Junction Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan. As she applies the skills she gained at MNU to her new career, Dana says the language training she received in Costa Rica was invaluable.

CostaRicaKids“Even though I understood how students learn a new language, I was able to see it in action better than I would have in the States,” John says. Another fall 2012 participant, Chelsea Bebermeyer (’12), adds that teaching in a Spanish-speaking country will help her relate to ELL students in her own classroom.

“I truly understand what it feels like to be an ELL student,” Bebermeyer says. “It helped me to empathize with these students, and I gained insight that will be beneficial for years to come.”

But ELL teaching methods aren’t the only thing participants gain from international student teaching. As Professor of Education Linda (Kirby, ’84) Alexander, PhD, explains, the experience also prompts student teachers to develop as individuals. “Being on your own in a foreign country makes you personally grow,” Alexander says. “Our student teachers put to good use the things they’re learning in our classrooms.”

Such cultural understanding is beneficial as teacher candidates move into the workforce. According to Alexander, schools seek candidates who have taught abroad.

“Employers who come to our job fair love our students’ international experience,” Alexander says. “Our employers see it as an asset to have worked in those diverse settings.”

Although ELL teaching experience, personal growth and added résumé appeal are great reasons to student teach abroad, the program’s ultimate purpose is the same as MNU’s purpose—to serve God and others with passion and purpose.

CostaRicaVolSummer 2012 participant Ashford Collins-Johnson (’12) now works as a sixth grade language arts teacher at Santa Fe Trail Middle School in Olathe, Kan. He says teaching in Costa Rica taught him how to live out his God-given calling.

“It's allowed me to become not just a better teacher, but someone that sees these opportunities to not just preach about how Christ wants us to live," Collins-Johnson says.

MNU’s Costa Rica program is offered every semester to student teachers. To learn more about innovative education at MNU, visit our education program page.

To discover more global opportunities at MNU, visit our student life page.

 

MNU News

Wednesday, August 23
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
JK Warrick photo credit JimSmith
Dr. JK Warrick to Serve at MNU as Special Counsel

Dr. JK Warrick to Serve at MNU as Special Counsel

Dr. J.K. Warrick has been appointed special counsel to the president for the 2017-18 academic year. President David Spittal, made the announcement…

Read More
CareerLife Calling
Expansion of Mentoring Program to Serve All Majors

Expansion of Mentoring Program to Serve All Majors

More career-focused opportunities for juniors at MNU will launch this fall with a newly expanded mentoring program. Built on the positive impact of…

Read More
Kassidy Chuning headshot resized
Alum Finds New Perspectives, New Growth

Alum Finds New Perspectives, New Growth

Kassidy (Ritchel ’14) Chuning worked hard and played hard.  During high school, she played basketball and volleyball while maintaining a coveted GPA. Strong family values were woven into the…

Read More
Aaron Tiffany w guitar
Business Major Answers the Call

Business Major Answers the Call

Aaron Tiffany (Business Administration, ’05) isn’t exactly where he thought he’d be after graduation from MNU. Or actually, he is. “Going in to college I didn't know what I wanted to…

Read More
Sunberg Named GS
Alum Named 43rd General Superintendent

Alum Named 43rd General Superintendent

MNU Alumnus, Dr. Carla (Johnson ’83) Sunberg, was elected the 43rd General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene June 27, at the denomination’s General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana.…

Read More
Jason Heidi Menard
Driven to Succeed: Alum Taps into Hard Work, Passion, and Energy

Driven to Succeed: Alum Taps into Hard Work, Passion, and Energy

Some people might say that alum Jason Menard, just 7 years out of MNU, is too young to be a high school assistant principal and athletic director.…

Read More
Stowe in China
MNU Professor Selected for Prestigious Fellowship

MNU Professor Selected for Prestigious Fellowship

The U.S. Department of State announced the selection of Ramona Stowe of MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) for a 10-month fellowship project…

Read More
PrayerWalk2016-74
Visit MNU Exhibit at GA2017

Visit MNU Exhibit at GA2017

If you’re attending The Church of the Nazarene General Assembly or any of the associated conventions June 21 to June 29, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana, be sure to stop by the MNU exhibits.…

Read More
mnugrad-004
MNU Mourns Passing of Former President Ed Robinson

MNU Mourns Passing of Former President Ed Robinson

Dr. Edwin H. Robinson, fourth president of MidAmerica Nazarene University, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, May 27, 2017. Dr. Ed, as he was…

Read More
Sports
Pioneers Fall to #11 Westmont in Opener

Pioneers Fall to #11 Westmont in Opener

The Pioneers were shut out in the season opener on Saturday...

 
MNU Cross County and Track & Field Announce 2017 Signing Class

MNU Cross County and Track & Field Announce 2017 Signing Class

MNU Cross Country and Track & Field are prepped for another great season...

 
MNU Finishes Top-30 in Learfield Directors' Cup

MNU Finishes Top-30 in Learfield Directors' Cup

After a successful 2016-17 season which saw several Pioneer squads qualify for Nationals, MNU ranked 27th in the NAIA and 2nd in the Heart in the Directors' Cup...

 
Latest Photos
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement
MNU Commencement 2017 Professional & Graduate Studies Commencement