Thursday May 4, 2017

Preparing for Summer Educational Exchange @ Dayton (SEED)

Summer Educational Exchange @ Dayton (SEED) is a collaborative program, with the University of Dayton Publishing, University of Dayton English Language Institute (UDEL), and Intensive English Program (IEP). These partners bring high-school students and teachers together each summer, typically from Latin American countries, to engage in English language learning experiences and U.S. culture on the University of Dayton (UD) campus. Since the inception of the program, SEED has continued to grow in reach and diversity by welcoming larger cohorts of participants and expanding to communities from other countries in Latin America.

Due to the changing education systems in Latin America, where English is now taught as early as kindergarten, SEED was initially created to provide a summer cultural and language program for Argentinian students and teachers. Participants are provided with support and access to language lessons, styles, and skills that may have been lacking to teach English to their students. Participating in a cooperative learning experience, students and teachers receive around 6-8 hours of integrated language skills each day. Students work with a team of other students to present a research topic of interest to practice their presentation skills. They also have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities and outdoor experiences like seek and finds, outings to the Air Force Museum, Dayton Dragons game and Kings Island. Teachers expand their competencies through experiential training, skill development and reflection in a classroom setting. Exploration through U.S. short storytelling, methodology workshops and professional development sessions provides teachers with the necessary skills to teach their students English.

A hallmark of this program, specifically for teacher participants, is the opportunity to stay overnight with a host family in the Dayton community. Most often, homestay families are people who are aware of the program and are affiliated with the University of Dayton, like alumni, faculty and staff members." This aspect of the program allows teachers to define the expectations of a 'U.S. family'," IEP Associate Program Manager, Nichole Lucas shares. "Teachers immerse themselves with a local family and are involved with fun activities like a BBQ, going to the movie theater and even trips to the grocery store. This is a chance for teachers to interact with an authentic cultural aspect of the United States." Nichole also shared that many of the teachers maintain relationships with their host families long after the SEED program has ended. This is a remarkable aspect of their experience, especially given the homestay visit is only 24 hours.

Previously, SEED has dedicated each summer to one particular community from other Latin American countries: Peru, Chile, Brazil or Columbia. Generally, these cohorts are comprised of 30 students and 10 teachers. Staying true to the innovative spirit of UD, this year SEED is inviting the largest and most diversified community of participants yet. The number of students and teachers participating this summer has more than doubled from past years, with 82 students and 24 teachers. Not only has the size of the program increased, but SEED will also be bringing students together from multiple countries, rather than from one particular country. This year participants from Peru, Chile, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic will join the community.

Students and teachers will be arriving on campus July 9. After three weeks of program, teachers will depart on July 22 and students will depart on July 29. Nichole Lucas shared that SEED is already planning to expand in region. "Right now the focus is in Latin America, but we are hoping to incorporate communities from countries outside of Latin America in the future."

To learn more, visit udayton.edu/international/iep/seed/index.php

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