Student Teaching Internationally Broadens Experience

Aug. 13, 2013 - by Carol Best

Teacher Ed Candidates Learn and Grow in Costa Rica

by Kelsey Luffman ('13)

August 13, 2013
View-from-Campus

In the MNU teacher education department, we do more than teach about teaching – we 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 demographics – from 1998 to 2008, the number of English Language Learner (ELL) students in the US grew by over 50%. That’s why Ramona Stowe, 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 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 current career, Dana says the language training she received in Costa Rica was invaluable.

If you are viewing this article in Google Chrome, please view our gallery at http://flic.kr/s/aHsjHvpUYN

“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,” Dana 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 a ELL student,” Chelsea 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 Dr. Linda Alexander explains, the experience also prompts student teachers to develop as individuals.

“Being on your own in a foreign country just makes you personally grow,” Alexander says. “Our student teachers get to put to good use the things they’re learning in our classrooms.”

Such cultural understanding does not go unnoticed as teacher candidates move into the workforce. According to Alexander, schools seek candidates who have taught abroad. 

“Many of the employers that come to our job fair love our students who have had international experience,” Alexander says. “Our employers really see it as an asset to have worked in those diverse settings.”

Finally, though ELL teaching experience, personal growth, and added rèsume appeal are 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.

Summer 2012 participant Ashford Collins-Johnson (‘12) now works as a sixth grade language arts teacher at Santa Fe Trail Middle School in Olathe, Kan. As Ashford, along with his fellow graduates of the MNU education program, look forward to a promising future making a difference in the lives of students, he says that 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, but live how Christ wants us to live,” Ashford says.

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

 

MNU News

Wednesday, April 1
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
AcademicIcon
New Agreement Will Result in More Earned Degrees

New Agreement Will Result in More Earned Degrees

The Kansas Association of Community College Trustees (KACCT) and the Kansas Independent College Association (KICA), of which MNU is a member,…

Read More
WoSBanner
Week of Scholarship April 7-10

Week of Scholarship April 7-10

MNU’s second annual Week of Scholarship is April 7 through 10, 2015, and highlights student and faculty achievement at MNU. The public is encouraged to attend and most events are free of…

Read More
7x7logo 1
7X7 Challenge Returns On April 7

7X7 Challenge Returns On April 7

MNU’s exciting 7X7 Challenge is back April 7, at 7:07 p.m. in Bell Cultural Events Center. Watch then vote for your favorite presenter when 7 MNU professors each give 7-minute presentations. Enjoy…

Read More
Andrew Ballew
Alum Says Community Makes the Difference

Alum Says Community Makes the Difference

Andrew Ballew, Psychology ’06, describes his job as continually changing and unpredictable from day to day, “one day I could be ducking under the thrown toys of a 6 year old in the morning and in…

Read More
Marge Smith, MNU Founding First Lady
Remembering A Modern Day Pioneer: Marge Smith

Remembering A Modern Day Pioneer: Marge Smith

Margaret “Marge” Emma Camfield Smith, age 96, of Olathe, Kansas, beloved founding first lady of MidAmerica Nazarene University, went to be with…

Read More
From Left to Right: Mayor Copeland, Mrs. Marge Smith, and Drs. Paul and Connie Cunningham
MNU Mourns Passing of Founding First Lady

MNU Mourns Passing of Founding First Lady

Marge Smith, wife of founding president, Dr. R. Curtis Smith, passed away quietly on Sunday, March 15, 2015 at the age of 96.  Surrounded by her…

Read More
PhilipWhite WhistleStop
Author and Alum Phillip White at MNU March 26

Author and Alum Phillip White at MNU March 26

Phillip White, celebrated author of his new book, Whistle Stop: How 31,000 Miles of Train Travel, 352 Speeches, and a Little Midwest Gumption Saved…

Read More
Game Pieces Icon
Grant to Fund Resource on Games and Learning

Grant to Fund Resource on Games and Learning

MNU is the recipient of a $5,000 Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association to develop an annotated bibliography on analog games…

Read More
AurelienNorest2
Norest Most Decorated Soccer Player

Norest Most Decorated Soccer Player

Aurelien "Frenchy" Norest is the most decorated individual player in the 13-year history of MNU Men's Soccer. In his four years at MNU, the defenseman helped lead the program to four straight…

Read More
Sports
Rocky Lamar Named Head Coach at William Jewell

Rocky Lamar Named Head Coach at William Jewell

After 29 seasons at the helm of MNU, NAIA Hall of Famer Rocky Lamar has accepted the head coach position at NCAA Div. 2 William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri...(click title for more)

 
Pioneers Split With Owls

Pioneers Split With Owls

Hayley Gately's 3-run homer highlighted a non conference split double header with William Woods on Tuesday...(click title for more)

 
Pioneers Crush Spires

Pioneers Crush Spires

MNU scored in every inning as they beat St. Mary 17-5 in a 7-inning mercy rule game on Monday...(click title for more)

 
Latest Photos
DSC03809 Our senior Nursing majors made their annual trip to Haiti over spring break.
DSC03801 Our senior Nursing majors made their annual trip to Haiti over spring break.
DSC03781 Our senior Nursing majors made their annual trip to Haiti over spring break.
DSC03777 Our senior Nursing majors made their annual trip to Haiti over spring break.
DSC03774 Our senior Nursing majors made their annual trip to Haiti over spring break.
DSC03773 Our senior Nursing majors made their annual trip to Haiti over spring break.