KDSL Global recently had a chance to connect with Julia Hedges (pictured above in the pink scarf) after she served for five weeks in five different cities in Brazil. This was part of a collaboration with the Department of Education in Recife, universities, schools, and learning centers.
Tell us about your role and the project you served on in Brazil.
I was an English Language Specialist for the Department of State. My role was to serve teachers (through teacher training) in an underserved region of Brazil. I trained English language teachers on best practices of content-based language instruction. I worked in four different states and five different cities in Northeastern Brazil.
What was your new learning from this project?
I was reminded of the importance of intercultural understanding and experiences. Since I’ve been back to the United States, I have made even more of an effort to incorporate my students’ life experiences and cultures into lessons in order to engage them, and in order to create a safe learning environment based on mutual respect and understanding.
To learn more about Hedges and her work in Brazil please visit https://elprograms.org/sample-projects/english-language-specialist-julia-hedges-collaborates-etas-share-american-english-website-resources-imperatiz-brazil/
About Julia Hedges
Julia received her Master of Education in TESOL from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon and a Bachelor’s degree in both English and Spanish from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. She has taught English as a Second/Foreign Language in both the United States and throughout the Middle East to adolescents and adults. Recently, she worked as an instructor for Intensive English Programs (IEPs) in Colorado and Texas. In the Middle East, she taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in a variety of contexts, and she successfully founded and managed an English language center that focused on test preparation, English for Specific Purposes (ESP), and teacher training. She has trained teachers, in six different countries, on best practices for delivering their English language programs using communicative methodology. In 2014, she presented “Back to Basics” at TESOL Arabia, which described her experiences working with Iraqi teachers. Currently, she serves on the Colorado TESOL Board as the Teacher Education/Action Research SIG co-chair. Julia’s professional interests include ways of making classrooms more student-driven, using Computer Assisted- Language Learning (CALL) to supplement lessons and engage learners, and materials development.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme is a VERY rigorous programme for scholars at select primary and secondary schools. This programme’s international component is unique, but in a way that can be beneficial for today’s learners. This program has intentionally modeled the standard college experience. After the completion of this program, scholars earn advanced college credits and have the potential for scholarships. After receiving an invitation to be sent to training with the Florida Association of IB World Schools (FLIBS), there was no way I could decline. In this blog post I will share with you my recent experience.
The first day of training was the most beneficial for me. This day was used for opening the floor for questions from my group. Our instructor would address each of our main concerns about the curriculum of IB. I have to make one small disclaimer as to why this worked for my group. The biology group was a small one, consisting of seven educators. This was the best part for me! It allowed the instructor to be more personal with our questions, comments, and concerns, which made it a more engaging and valuable. I’m sure that most people who love their content felt eager to expand their professional development making day one the most exciting. Day two was spent breaking down the three core elements that every scholar has to show mastery on in order to obtain the diploma. The three core elements are Theory of knowledge (TOK), extended essay (EE), and creativity, activity, and service, which is often referred to as CAS. The three core elements are similar to what you would see in college. For example, when I was a biology major during university the only “papers” I had to write were in my general education classes. My life was creating a schedule for myself to finish labs and the reports that went with them. Congruently, this is what an IB scholar would experience in their science content course. If you are immersed in the world of IB, then time management and organization is imperative. As per my instructor, not often does IB request certain material from you, but if you are audited, it is best to keep documentation on what is happening in your class. Day three was a half day to recap on anything that may have been unclear and to tie everything we had learned together in a way we can feel confident to implement IB practices in our classroom this fall.
Overall, I had a great experience at training! My instructor did a phenomenal job of pacing, integrating hands-on tasks, and clarity of explaining which really made me want to be invited into his classroom. In the future I hope to return to FLIBS for level 2-3 training.
9th Grade Biology Teacher
KDSL Global Fellow
Twitter: @KDSL07 and @sayscienceTEM