20 educators from Belize will be furthering their studies on a PhD level in the areas of Literacy and Culture. These Educators will then be leaders in the country to educate other educators on how to further improve their teaching styles. This is made possible via assistance from the Oklahoma State University professors who are preparing the educators for their 4 year course. According to Jennifer Sanders, Associate Professor of Literacy Education at OSU, this course seeks to assist the educators with a better understanding of the education system and literacy rate in Belize.
Jennifer Sanders – Assistant Professor, OSU: “ The focus for this program is centered around issues of Language, Literacy and Culture and how those three concepts connect, relate and inform each other so we say you can’t do literacy without knowing the culture and understanding the ways that culture influences literacy development and language development. We are really looking into the interconnectedness of all of those and coming up with ideas for how to continue to grow and strengthen the literacy of children in primary and secondary school in Belize.”
Ben Bindewald – Assistant Professor, OSU: “We are partnered with the Belizean Ministry of Education and all our students in the doctoral cohort are Belizean educators of some capacity: either teachers, administrators and literacy coaches. What we are doing as American professors is that we are trying to learn as much as we can about Belizean culture to help make connections with our students, help them make connections with the materials from the courses and to take that expertise as literacy professors, literacy scholars, back to the teachers of Belize and to help improve literacy education in the classroom from all the way down on the bottom. We really want to see them take knowledge and apply it in real-life to improve social and educational conditions on the ground.”
Taking a break from the training, Darlene Lozano, one of the students who is perusing her PHD in literacy and culture told us how she plans on changing Belize after acquiring her PHD.
Darlene Lozano – Doctoral Student: “Our discussion today dealt with inquiry and we are looking at the inquiry and how we can make our students be more curious about what they read and what they want to know. Going to school originally you used to get a set of questions and you answer those and we say that it is comprehension but comprehension is more about understanding and to come up with thought-provoking ideas. These individuals must be functional in our society so what we give them has to be crossed over to the Belizean reality so that when you want to interview them, they will be able to do an interview competently. They will be able to speak or write. When they listen to something off the internet or off the radio they will comprehend not at the lower level but at the advanced level where they can make connections between their reality, the reality of the international global society and link it together to make sense of it.”
The preparation training for Educators will be for 2 weeks which started on Monday and is being held at ITVET in Belize City.