ETBU Department of Teacher Education Helps School in Ethiopia
MARSHALL, Texas (6/24/14) – Department of Teacher Education students at East Texas Baptist University gained practical experience by participating in “Project Ethiopia.” Students in ETBU reading classes wrote activities that would help teachers in Bantu, Ethiopia teach English to their students.
The ETBU Teacher Education Department learned of the need through Dr. Jim Palmer. Dr. Palmer is the coordinator for a group of churches in East Texas that work with Buckner International to help establish schools and churches in rural Ethiopia.
“Last year, Dr. Palmer asked the Department of Teacher Education if there was some way we could help with the English as a Second Language program at the Bright Hope School in Bantu,” shared ETBU Dean of the School of Education Dr. Donna Lubcker. “After a summer of research and planning it was determined that writing culturally and developmentally appropriate activities would be the best way to assist the teachers in the school.”
The project began with the ETBU reading classes offered in the Fall of 2013 and continued with the reading classes in the Spring of 2014.
The future educators spent time researching the culture and the type of students who attend the school in Bantu before writing lesson plans. “The ETBU students used pictures of the school in Ethiopia, information about the village and area to help them develop appropriate activates that would fit the Ethiopian culture,” said Dr. Lubcker. “The department also raised $2,500 to purchase materials for the teachers in Bantu to use to implement the activities.”
As the students developed the activities they were reminded by ETBU professors that what works in the classroom in East Texas might not work in Ethiopia. For example, activates based around the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the traditional meal of turkey and dressing would be foreign to the students. Activities involving music would be very familiar to the students in Bantu.
Churches involved in the work in Ethiopia also provided funds for the material to accompany the activities. The churches who contributed were Central Baptist of Marshall, First Baptist of Corsicana, and First Baptist of Shreveport, La.
“The Department of Education is very appreciative of the churches being so willing to support this project. It was a wonderful practical experience for our students. As they worked on this project they knew that what they were writing would really be used to help student learn even if the students were half way around the world,” concluded Lubcker.
The ETBU School of Education has a successful record of producing quality public school teachers. At Spring Commencement, 37 students received their bachelor’s degrees with 11 earning graduate degrees in education.