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Ecuadorean English teachers to pass on knowledge

Ecuadorean English teachers to pass on knowledge

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Forty-four Ecuadorean teachers are now better equipped to pass on their knowledge of the English language to other Ecuadoreans.

The 44 are the first set of Ecuadoreans to graduate from the Teach English Caribbean programme, an initiative hatched out between the Governments of St Vincent and the {{more}}Grenadines (SVG) and Ecuador, which sees Ecuadorean educators journeying to English speaking Caribbean countries to learn English.

The Ecuadoreans graduated last Tuesday, at a ceremony which was held at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) at Glen. The institution was the base for the Teach English Caribbean Programme.

During the graduation ceremony, which was attended by a wide cross-section of local academia, academic co-ordinator of the Teach English Programme in SVG Jannis Deane gave an overview of the programme, while describing the graduation ceremony as “a very special day for 44 Ecuadorean students.”

Deane said that the teachers can now boast of having certificates of proficiency in the courses English as a Second Language (ESL) and Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL).

She noted that this group is unique, as they are the first cohort of students to graduate from the SVGCC having completed a course that has been offered by the SVGCC for the first time.

“…first St Vincent and the Grenadines has participated in such a unique experience, which has not only expanded our diplomatic ties, but has also offered quality educational opportunities to countries of South America,” said Deane, who noted that the students began their academic journey on November 7, 2015.

She revealed that the programme had three parts: ESL was taught for three months, TESOL for three months, while the final month of the course saw the participants doing practical sessions, where they taught in a number of primary and secondary schools. A research project was also done.

According to Deane, the course addressed, among other things: reading, writing, listening, oral presentation and phonology. The Ecuadoreans also participated in debates and did interviews with business owners and gave presentations, “and this helped them improve their proficiency.”

The academic co-ordinator stressed that the course has prepared the Ecuadoreans to be better teachers of English and they will pass on these skills to newly inducted teachers in their country, as well as students.

She said that in her opinion, the 44 students were thrust into the heart of our culture, having witnessed elections, Carnival and Nine Mornings and also introduced some of their culture.

“The presence of our Ecuadorean students has made a significant contribution to the tourism of our country [and] created a social, linguistic and economic balance which benefited both them and our people,” said Deane, who also thanked “the eight seasoned experts” who trained the Ecuadoreans.

During a student’s response, Gabriella Monteros Loor said that education is important to the development of any country. She thanked the local government for allowing her and her colleagues to gain the much needed schooling.

Also addressing the gathering, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Education Deborah Charles noted that in 2012, an investigation revealed that the level of English language among Ecuadorean teachers of English was lower than the internationally accepted standard.

She said that this was recognized by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who reached out to Ecuador “with the hope of enhancing and strengthening our own education revolution and also to assist the Ecuadoreans with their English teaching problems.”

She said that the initiative, which was embraced by the Prime Minister, has brought benefits to both countries, while the teachers acquired new skills in speaking and teaching and gained valuable lessons from living among us.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Saboto Caesar, delivering the feature address, said that the SVGCC has come a long way “and today’s event is not only a moment of appreciation…but it is a very important moment for us as nation to reflect on the path that we have travelled as a college.”

The Minister said that teaching is a very noble profession and encouraged the teachers of SVG, who he said were doing an “excellent” job, to continue.

He described the programme as “a very creative and innovative policy,” while he stressed that he is happy that both nations have come together “in a great expression of their sovereignty.”

The graduation also heard from director of the SVGCC Nigel Scott and Carlton Hall, one of the lecturers who administered the programme.(LC)

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