A group of Belizean educators are currently working in the United States under the recruitment of Participate Learning. The international program facilitates a teacher exchange for Belizean educators to teach in North and South Carolina and Virginia. The program is geared at providing scholars with the opportunity to diversify their teaching backgrounds. These participants had the experience of looking at the U.S. educational system before and after the pandemic and identifying weaknesses in social and educational practices. As schools in Belize are slated to return to full face-to-face learning in August, the teachers have been able to come up with strategies to overcome these obstacles. According to the Recruitment Coordinator of Participate Learning in Latin America, teachers will now better understand how to reduce the gaps generated by the interruption of in-class learning.
Ronald Ramirez, Recruitment Coordinator, Participate Learning, Latin America: “When teachers enter Participate Learning, they’re going to enter into a different, into a big community of professionals. They’re going to pick up a lot of tips from England, from teachers from Scotland, from New Zealand and they’re going to teach other teachers too. I mean Belizean teachers are going to teach teachers from Columbia, from Costa Rica, from Mexico. Okay so, this is a big interaction in which teachers are going to exchange knowledge and techniques. It was a big problem because of the evaluation. It’s not the same thing because you know when that student is right in front of you, it’s not the same really when that student is via Zoom or via Google Meet. It was totally different. Now after the pandemic, everything was starting to look normal. What they do now is they evaluate each student individually. You know, they run different diagnostics, different tests and just to make sure or just to see if they’re falling behind, like in Math or if their reading level is not where they should. So that’s what they’re doing right now.”
Ramirez says that through this program, teachers will be able to facilitate a smoother transition to face-to-face learning for themselves and the students.