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Why wouldn't this student-teacher exchange work?

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The No. 1 teacher training institution in Peru (it's a five-year course and includes practice teaching) is Lima's Instituto Pedagogico Nacional. After a visit there with Sabra Nichols de Chavez, who is in charge of the English department (teaching future Peruvian teachers to be teachers of English as a second language), I came up with a plan that would help solve a difficult problem in the United States. I tried it out on Mrs. Chavez, who didn't seem at all sure that any US college or university would be flexible enough.

This teachers' college, operated by Roman Catholic teaching sisters of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, would be a marvelous place for US student teachers to study Spanish as a second language and do practice teaching in Spanish at the institute's pilot school or a nearby public school. Also, the US student could learn much about teaching English as a second language --a skill badly needed in public schools across the US.

My thought is that there would be an exchange. No fewer than two and probably no more than five students from the US should exchange places with students from Lima. The Lima students, like their US counterparts, would practice teach in the US and study English there as well. Also, they would teach English as a second language to native Spanish-speaking US school-children.

Mrs. Chavez reminded me that housing, in both directions, could be a serious deterrent to my plan.

Then she added the differing times for the school year, and also finances and the fact that all the students in that teacher-training college are women.

But I want to hurdle all those fences. The city of Boston badly needs teachers who are fluent in Spanish and trained to teach English as a second language to native Spanish-speaking children. And Boston has several fine colleges that prepare teachers.

Suppose Wellesley College were to play hostess to the plan, seeking out women candidates from such institutions as Tufts, Northeastern, Harvard, Boston College, and Boston University.

Together, the several women students could rent a nearby apartment or house in Lima, or one by one find a place in the home of one of the exchange students.

For the US students, I would envision this time coming in the second semester of their junior year --starting in April and lasting through what is winter for Peru and the summer term for US students.


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