Expanding the Latin American Studies Program in Maryland

Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad participants 2010
Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad participants 2010

Towson, Md. (Sept. 22, 2010): Completing a third trip to Mexico with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Education through its Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program, Associate Professor Colleen Ebacher and Professor Ronn Pineo’s, “Partners in Education: Maryland K-12 and University Educators Enhance Latin American Studies,” is a professional development program and cultural immersion experience. The program’s goal is to provide K-12 teachers the knowledge and experience so that they may develop a Latin American Studies curriculum and learning modules for Maryland’s K-12 schools.  “Clearly, current issues facing this nation demand a deeper understanding of the Hispanic experience,” says Ebacher. “Through our program, we are educating our children by providing their teachers with the tools and knowledge they need to better prepare their students in the classroom.”

 “Partners in Education” is exactly that, a collaboration of many experts both locally and within the host country. Ebacher attributes the program’s success to the ongoing relationships she has established since conceiving this project in 2000.  Working with both the Spanish Language Institute and host families in Cuernavaca, Mexico, makes the entire experience both a content and culturally rich experience for its participants. For six weeks in Mexico, selected K-12 teachers participate in language study, lectures, home stays, excursions, workshops and cultural activities as they explore six issues central to Latin America: social and geographic landscape; conquest, independence, and revolution; indigenous peoples and changing realities; art and architecture; migration/immigration; and people and voices of Mexico. Community service activities provide insight into the diverse socioeconomic experiences of Mexicans and home stays with Mexican families offer insight in the daily lives of its people.

All participants are required to develop curriculum and to disseminate it. With the completion of this the 2010 program, a total of 45 Maryland teachers are now fulfilling that responsibility by sharing their experiences and materials in their classrooms, schools and communities while presenting in at least one regional or national conference and making the developed materials available through the program’s Internet site. To this end, the program is designed to prepare it teachers for this responsibility, providing them with both pre- and post-travel activities targeted at curriculum development, dissemination and grant writing. The ultimate goal of the “Partners in Education” is to build a Latin American Studies curriculum in Maryland to prepare future generations for the diverse cultural environment they will experience in their daily lives.

The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program is an annual program funded through the U.S. Department of Education. The program announcement for 2011 has not been announced but interested applicants should visit for information.  The 2011 announcement will be featured in the Alive Line.

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