Unique international program spends summer in Solana Beach

SOLANA BEACH — Stellar Scholar Academy and Santa Fe Christian in partnership with San Diego State’s American Language Institute is hosting 19 public school teachers from Pusan University of Foreign Studies, Busan, Korea.
Dr. Robert Schwab, professor in the Graduate School of Education at PUFS, said that it was “the desire of this program to provide Korean teachers with the opportunity to develop a diverse array of skills through authentic interaction and experiential learning opportunities in a native English teaching environment.”
This unique program is currently in place and fully funded through the Pusan School Board in coordination with federal and provincial agencies. Korean teachers will complete a three-month observation and practicum which includes four hours of daily interaction with American teachers and students, co-teaching, tutoring, mentoring, sharing Korean culture, and completing a journal of “best practices” that will be implemented in their Korean classrooms this year.
Participating schools receive a nominal fee for their use of teachers and professional development of Korean teachers. However, if you ask the principals involved they would say that the experience has been priceless for the teachers as well as the students.
“Teaching and learning in the 21st century depends on a strong global connection,” said Dr. Nicole Wahab, owner of Stellar Scholar Academy, a full-service enrichment center on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach.
“The teachers and the students are learning from each other, unlike most teaching programs, this program doesn’t just inform the teacher about how to teach English to native speakers, it allows the teacher to learn the strategy and then immediately try it with the students,” Dr. Wahab said.
The highlights of this program focus on the students, an intentional side effect, seen in four significant areas: global awareness; international relations; appreciation for cultural differences; and authentic assessment and examination of English instruction and learning.
“The program is off to a wonderful start and we are anticipating the results to prompt global innovation in the area of language acquisition,” Teacher Training Coordinator Van Hillier said of the program.
Hillier added that, because of the success of the current program, they anticipate another group of teachers during the 2010-2011 school year.
The Korean teachers will be in local schools through the month of August.

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