Representatives from five universities met in a two-day conference at The University of Texas-Pan American recently in an effort to develop a comprehensive, binational and interdisciplinary program for teacher preparation and leadership development.
The Alianza program, a collaboration between UTPA, Intercultural Development Research Association, Mexican and American Solidarity Foundation, California State University at Long Beach, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Southwest Texas State University and Arizona State University is designed to develop future qualified bilingual education student teacher aides and normalists (teachers trained at universities in Mexico).
According to Dr. Hilda Medrano, dean of the College of Education at UTPA, this binational project is enabling 200 teachers to become leaders in bilingual and bicultural settings.
Participating universities are expanding their bilingual curricula to include courses of study and practical experiences that enhance the abilities of teachers, parents, administrators, school board members and community leaders to collaborate effectively said Maria Robledo Montecel of the Intercultural Development Research Association.
According to Montecel, the project also enhances the capacity of Latino and non-Latino students and educators to speak Spanish and work in cross-cultural environments essential to success in the 21st century.
"Alianza targets teacher aides who are bilingual, traditional students in teacher-preparation programs in universities and normalists who are legal US residents who were teachers in Mexico," Montecel said. "The program also equips educational systems to prepare teachers and other educators to perform effectively in bilingual, binational and bicultural circumstances. These include universities that offer studies leading to bilingual education certification, schools and communities that offer sites for practical experience, and research and support institutions."
The Alianza program is made possible through a five-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and one-third of the grant is being used for student stipends. The program serves as an example for preparing educators to work in bilingual and bicultural environments.
For more information on the Alianza Program, contact Medrano at 956/381-3628.