Twenty two graduate students from Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Virginia, and three education professors, spent two weeks at Holy Cross Anglican School in January. The project was part of a service learning course in the CNU Master of Arts in Teaching program.
The graduate students entered Holy Cross classrooms to act as partner teachers where they assisted in planning lessons, managing student behavior, and taught for two hours a day so the classroom teachers could attend the in service training provided by the education professors.
Classroom teachers participated in sessions related to effective practices in curriculum and instruction. Topics included lesson planning, motivation, active participation, expectations, and higher-order thinking skills. The teachers then applied the ideas covered in their own classrooms.
In the evenings, the CNU students attended seminars in comparative education. They discussed the similarities and differences of the US and Belizean education systems.
The CNU students were very impressed with the Holy Cross students and the school. Jenn Gathmann, a future art teacher, commented that the students are very open to visitors and have great curiosity about the world. She was also enthusiastic about the health and dental care provided to the students. Tony Fryer, who was paired with Darwin Tun in Standard IV, noted how personable the students are and how interested they are in the visiting teachers.
Dr. Marsha Sprague, Director of Teacher Preparation at CNU, hopes to continue the program each January, bringing students and teachers to continue the professional development of Holy Cross teachers. Discussions are underway with the University of Belize to provide college credit for the Holy Cross teachers participating in the program.