Unique partnership between ASU, Mexico helps train English teachers

By

Firoz Jameel

In what is the first-ever partnership between an American university and the Mexican Ministry of Public Education, 194 English teachers came to Arizona State University from Mexico for teacher training.

The Mexican government coordinates the program through COMEXUS, an organization  that sponsors educational exchanges between the United States and Mexico. This marks a continuing effort by ASU to expand its partnerships with Mexican institutions.

The training program provides six weeks of instruction to participants. The teachers took two weeks of classes through ASU Online, then came to the Tempe campus for further instruction from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and ASU’s Global Launch Initiative.  

Program participants got to explore ASU and experience Arizona's culture. Participants listened to special guest lecturers from across campus to learn more about the university. They also had the chance to explore and visit the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum and the Grand Canyon, and to attend an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game.

The Mexican government chose ASU and its Teachers College to administer the program because of the university’s commitment to quality and education.  

“[ASU] recognizes the need for teachers to be globally aware and has the tools to help prepare them to succeed in the classroom,” said Shane Dixon, a senior international educator with Global Launch.  

Teachers in the program take four courses during the six-week period. Topics covered include using technology in the classroom, teaching English to non-native speakers, effective models of learning and instruction, and techniques for teaching reading comprehension and analytical writing.  

Lazaro Romero Vazquez, an English teacher from Chiapas with 16 years of classroom experience, believed that this program would provide the best opportunity for him to learn new skills that could be used in his classroom. He found the classes that helped teacher integrate technology into lessons to be most interesting. 

“Helping students learn a foreign language is difficult, but technology will make it easier,” he said. “The tools we acquire here are going to be very useful and help me do a better job.”  

ASU and the Ministry of Public Education hope to expand the program to include instruction for other subjects, such as science and math education. The Ministry of Public Education also plans to include other universities in future iterations of the program.