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Future Teachers from Baja Observe Bilingual Classes in Chula Vista

November 8, 2018

By Mario A. Cortez

A delegation of 64 normal school students from Baja California visited a Chula Vista school this Monday to observe first-hand how dual immersion programs, in which incorporate Spanish and English lesson plans, are taught.

The visiting students, from Tijuana’s National Pedagogic University (UPN Tijuana, in Spanish) and the Escuela Normal Fronteriza, observed how this class format works at Chula Vista Learning Community Charter Elementary School and how it can be adapted to campuses south of the border.

With a growing number of students arriving in Baja and the possibility they may return to the United States, educational organizations in Baja California are currently seeking the development of teachers who are bilingual and bicultural who can provide the proper support to students who restart their education in Mexico, often times not knowing Spanish.

Yara Amparo López-López, state coordinator for Baja California’s English Migrant Education Program says there are currently 54,000 United States-born students in Baja California. Of these, many are children of deported parents or find themselves in Mexico temporarily due to many different causes.

“We need to prepare all of our students in both languages, Spanish and English,” she stated, adding that while there might not be any dual immersion programs in Mexico there are bilingual and indigenous education programs which can incorporate successful elements from the classes analyzed during this visit.

Juan Gabriel Lopez-Ochoa, UPN Tijuana dean, was among the people taking the tour. A point of interest for him and his students was observing how bilingual concepts are applied in the classroom.

“Observation provides us with input to absorb some didactic strategy from this side of the border,” he said. “UPN Tijuana students are seeing and receiving feedback with what they are looking at and can view in a practical and real context where they can see a different teaching process from what they create in the classroom.”

This visit is yet another collaboration between several organizations in California and Baja California which looks to establish common educational practices which address the needs of cross-border students, in which San Diego State’s School of Education, UCSD, the California Association for Bilingual Education, and the Baja California Secretary of Education, among others, participate in.

As part of this binational effort, a delegation of 36 SDSU students schools in Tijuana, Tecate, and Ensenada in previous weeks to observe and learn from Mexican teachers as well as putting teaching concepts they have learned to practice.

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