For English language students and professors at the Universidad de Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile, professional development opportunities are hard to come by. Located at the southern tip of South America and far from big cities or international hubs, getting to Punta Arenas is a challenge.
It was a challenge English Language Fellow Crissa Stephens faced head on. While on her fellowship in Punta Arenas, Southern Cone TESOL, the South American branch of the international TESOL organization, decided to hold its annual conference in Santiago, Chile, the closest the conference would likely be to far-flung Punta Arenas.
Stephens and her students sprang into action. With her help, 35 students and two professors at Universidad de Magallanes organized a committee and raised enough funds to attend the conference.
It was the first time in the history of the Universidad de Magallanes’ English Department that students and professors were able to attend.
The professors and students who attended were exposed to current themes such as Critical Pedagogy and to current classroom techniques effective in their teaching context. The professors also had the chance to share their own research and successful practices with an international audience.
Both the participating students and professors remarked that the experience was eye-opening and will influence their current professional practice. They returned to their region ready to put their new learning into practice.