Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2018
After the commencement ceremony ended and the final toll of the bells signaled the end of the semester, five students and two professors boarded a plane for the Dominican Republic for an educational service trip. The group spent a week observing classrooms, teaching English and working with educators in the community of Sabaneta de Yásica.
The education students used concepts learned in Westminster classrooms to create games and lessons for students learning English as a second language. They also conducted a workshop with teachers to share learning practices that could be adapted for several areas of education across age levels.
“This trip made my education come to life because I was able to see learning practices across different grades and compare those to practices in the United States,” junior education and Spanish major Emily Russell said.
Educational opportunities abroad provide students with hands-on experience in their future professions and a chance to broaden their worldviews. Foreign environments come with their own challenges, but students often find that traveling teaches confidence and independence.
“Traveling to a place where I didn’t speak the language was a humbling experience because it helped me understand how a student may feel in the United States if English is not their first language. This empathy will help me better relate to future students who are struggling in the classroom with language or even other concepts as well,” junior education major Rachel Moore said.
Professors Joel Postema and Sararose Lynch began this partnership with a private school last year, when they took two Westminster education students to research and observe. Dr. Lynch and Dr. Postema’s mission was to build a relationship between Westminster education majors and Dominican educators, giving students first-hand experience in the field while also serving a community in need.
Dr. Postema and Dr. Lynch plan to build on this foundation they’ve created in Sabaneta and further their partnership with the education system of the community in the coming years. For more information on how you can get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
*Written by Vanessa Restifo