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

Monday, June 26
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
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
MNU website 162
Chem Students’ Research May Help Other Universities

Chem Students’ Research May Help Other Universities

MNU chemistry research students are working on new ways to explore the interactions between gold nanoparticles and photoswitching molecules under the…

Read More
Supernova Remnants
New Findings in Professors’ Supernova Research

New Findings in Professors’ Supernova Research

Associate Professor of Physics Drew Overholt and his colleagues are continuing to research the effects of supernova on Earth’s biology. Soon the…

Read More
BarkmanBees-12
New Bee Colonies Bring Multiple Research Possibilities

New Bee Colonies Bring Multiple Research Possibilities

A big addition to the wildlife that biology students will study, arrived on campus last week. Thanks to the generous donation of Brent (FS ’85) and…

Read More
The Most Impactful Inventions in Each State

The Most Impactful Inventions in Each State

  They say necessity is the mother of all invention, but which states inspired which inventions? Whether the invention was necessary or not is…

Read More
Open House Pic
Accelerated and Graduate Programs Open House

Accelerated and Graduate Programs Open House

The School of Professional and Graduate Studies is hosting open houses at its Liberty and Olathe locations. TUESDAY, June 13      …

Read More
Sports
Lindsay Smith Named Next MNU Cheerleading Coach

Lindsay Smith Named Next MNU Cheerleading Coach

OLATHE, Kan. - Director of Athletics Todd Garrett has announced Lindsay Smith as the next head coach of MNU Cheerleading.

 
2017 Women's Soccer Newcomers

2017 Women's Soccer Newcomers

click title for more

 
Graham Highlights Track & Field Nationals

Graham Highlights Track & Field Nationals

Graham Brings Home National Champion Honors As Men Break Into Top 10, Women Top 50 In Second Year Restarting the Program.

 
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