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

Wednesday, January 28
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
Student Parishoner2
Church Revived from the Brink

Church Revived from the Brink

They thought they might have to close its doors due to low attendance and a slim budget, but Drexel, Missouri’s Church of the Nazarene was not ready to give up. Now they are experiencing a…

Read More
ChocoRush2015
MNU is Site for 3rd Annual Chocolate Rush

MNU is Site for 3rd Annual Chocolate Rush

Here’s a chance to get some exercise, compete with other runners and enjoy everyone’s favorite treat, chocolate. The Chocolate Rush 5K and Half…

Read More
Beths Packaging
Designer Makes Gift Giving Better

Designer Makes Gift Giving Better

If you bought a gift card and gift card packaging at certain retailers over the holiday season, you may have seen alum Beth (Drege ’10) Laird’s work on display. The graphic designer works for…

Read More
MLK 2015-27
MLK Leader Scholars Honored

MLK Leader Scholars Honored

MNU honored its Martin Luther King Leader Scholars this week. Presented at the 9th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Community Celebration, the students received certificates in addition to scholarships…

Read More
New MLK photo
9th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration

9th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s 9th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration will be held Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., at…

Read More
Jane Martin
It's Never Too Late

It's Never Too Late

Acquiring an education is a feasible goal regardless of a person’s age. This is something MidAmerica Nazarene University nursing student Jane Martin believes with all her heart. Ret. LTC Ken…

Read More
ACBSPnewsroom
School of Business Announces ACBSP Accreditation

School of Business Announces ACBSP Accreditation

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s School of Business announced today that its programs of study have achieved accreditation by the Accreditation…

Read More
RWJF V2 2014-11Anari
Bringing Healthcare to Most Vulnerable

Bringing Healthcare to Most Vulnerable

Fredrick Anari wants to know his life has had meaning and the nursing profession is how he has chosen to pursue that passion. A student in MNU’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN)…

Read More
Quincy Foster
MNU Campus Community Condolences

MNU Campus Community Condolences

Mourning the Loss of Student Quincy Foster Jan. 2, 2015             The MidAmerica Nazarene University community is deeply saddened by the loss of…

Read More
Sports
Balcom Records Career High at Graceland

Balcom Records Career High at Graceland

MNU finished the first half of the HAAC schedule tied for the lead after an 80-65 victory at Graceland on Saturday...(click title for more)

 
70-Point 2nd Half Gives MNU Blowout Victory

70-Point 2nd Half Gives MNU Blowout Victory

MNU trailed by 5 at halftime but exploded for a 103-79 victory at Graceland on Saturday...(click title for more)

 
Pioneers Finish Strong in Victory Over Avila

Pioneers Finish Strong in Victory Over Avila

A competitive game turned into an 18-point victory as MNU pulled away late on Thursday...(click title for more)

 
Latest Photos
MLK_2015-33 Bob Shands (left) accepts Martin Luther King Living Legacy award on behalf of his late father, Rev. O. Norman Shands, Jr. Dr. David Spittal, MNU president (right).
MLK_2015-27
MLK_2015-23
MLK_2015-18
MLK_2015-8
MLK_2015-6