Mexico is a vibrant and diverse country, famous for its traditions, music, gastronomy, and resorts. Its geography and climate are as diverse as its peoples and languages; besides Spanish, there are 68 linguistic groups with over 350 varieties of indigenous languages spoken.
Merida is the capital and largest city of the state of Yucatan as well as the largest city of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is home to almost one million people, with approximately 60% of all inhabitants being of the Maya ethnicity. The city, like much of the state, has heavy Mayan, Spanish, French, British and, to a lesser extent, Dutch influences. Nicknamed ‘The White City’, Merida boasts a strong cultural and academic life, rich traditions, world-famous gastronomy, and beautiful handicrafts. However, life is usually slow-paced – people still take the time to stop and smell the roses, go home for lunch, take a siesta, or visit with neighbors in the cool evening. There is an international airport and several bus companies that provide inter-city service, linking the city to the peninsula and the rest of the country. Nearby tourist attractions include impressive archaeological sites and beautiful beaches. The weather is tropical, with high temperatures and moderate to high humidity most of the year, as well as heavy rains from June to October.
Host Institution: Secretariat of Education of Yucatan
The current English program in the state of Yucatán was launched in 2008 as part of a federal mandate that made English language education compulsory from preschool. The state Secretariat of Education is responsible for providing high-quality education in the 106 municipalities that comprise the state.
The program currently covers over 500 schools (49 pre-schools, 192 elementary, and 269 middle schools), and has 700 teachers, who serve children between the ages of 5 and 15. Teachers’ language proficiency varies greatly; many have a basic command of English and do not always feel comfortable addressing their students in this language. Their teaching background is also very diverse and many are not familiar with methodology specific to teaching kids and teens. In recent years, the state government has implemented an active program of workshops to improve the quality of English instruction in public schools.
- The Fellow will organize professional development involving content-based instruction, TESOL methods and techniques, ELT methodology, and materials development to public school English teachers working in the public system from pre- to middle school in the state of Yucatan.
- The Fellow will provide direct language instruction in the 4 skills, grammar, and vocabulary, content-based instruction, American culture, studies, and/or literature to public school English teachers.
The Fellow may be asked to:
- Participate in conversation clubs, cultural activities involving American culture, studies, and/or literature to public school English teachers, public school students, and the general public.
- Interact with Access students and teachers, acting as a cultural informant for students and facilitating workshops for Access instructors as needed.