Project Learn Belize: Teacher Education Program – Students
January, 2008, was a first attempt to provide students in the Teacher Education Program with an education-focused experience outside the usual confines of American education. Belize provided such a unique opportunity, as it is English-speaking,as well as situated in Central America. The previous ties that had formed between USF and the town of Dangriga and Sacred Heart School provided a solid basis for this pilot project. In this first venture, four undergraduates and one graduate student, all enrolled in the Teacher Education Program, traveled to Dangriga with other USF students during the Intersession (January 2-16, 2008). Working in tandem with participants in the Arrupe Immersion Program, the PLB~TED students participated in the activities of the camp, and serve as teaching assistants during the following school week. Beside their talents and energies, these Teacher Education students shared their recently acquired knowledge and passion for teaching with the faculty and staff of Sacred Heart School. At the same time, reflective of its name, participants in PLB~TED were be exposed to, and hopefully transformed by, the realities of cultural diversity, tradition, and challenges of education, health, and governance in this developing country in the Caribbean Basin. A highlight of this trip, for both the USF students and the Sacred Heart School community, was the visit of Fr. Steven Privett, S.J., President of USF and Dr. Judith Karshmer, Dean of the School of Nursing, All USF participants were required to participate in pre-service orientation meetings during the fall semester, prior to traveling to Belize in January. Those selected for PLB~TED were responsible for securing and purchasing air transportation to/from Belize City. Ground transportation, room, and board for this two-week program were approximately $700.
The Teacher Assistant Program continues to the present, in January of each year.
Project Learn Belize: Dual Degree in Teacher Preparation (DDTP) Program
Eligible USF students generally enter the Dual Degree in Teacher Preparation (DDTP) program in their freshman year. The DDTP Program is cooperatively sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. During the first four years, undergraduates complete the requirements for their major as well as enroll in courses in the School of Education designed to acquaint students with teaching as a career. During the senior year, DDTP students apply for admission to the Teacher Education Master’s program. With successful completion of required graduate courses during the fifth year, students are eligible to receive the Master’s degree as well as recommendation for the California Preliminary teaching credential. During their undergraduate years, students in the Dual Degree Program participate in a cultural immersion experience that provides them with the critical theoretical and practical understanding of diverse ethnic, cultural and social issues. Currently, this requirement is met by participation in USF A&S International or Study Abroad Programs, or a local DDTP field experience in schools in the Bay Area. Based on the experience of DDTP students in January, 2008, Project Learn Belize serves as an additional site / program in for students. DDTP students have the opportunity to explore the teaching profession in greater depth, especially from a more global perspective, and to apply the course knowledge they have learned in a practical setting. Inquiries indicate great interest among graduate DDTP students to participate.