MIDWAY, Ky. — Midway University welcomed a new group of Panamanian educators this month. This is the fifth group of educators to visit the University through a collaboration between Midway and the Panamanian government that began in 2015. The 25 from Panama, all of whom have years of classroom experience, are in Central Kentucky to receive eight weeks of professional development.
The program is part of an ambitious initiative known as Panamá Bilingüe (Bilingual Panama). The program was implemented by the Panamanian President Juan Carlos Valera and is designed to ensure that the country’s citizens become fluent in English and Spanish. President Valera has committed to send Panama’s educators to universities in English-speaking countries for the next five years to study English and second-language teaching methods.
“Midway University is proud to continue our partnership with the government of Panama as it seeks to provide language learning opportunities to students in its public education system. We have trained 113 educators so far through this agreement and once they return home the collaboration continues through sustained outreach between our faculty and the teachers. It is building an international relationship between our faculty and the teachers in Panama,” said Dr. Mary Elizabeth Stivers, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Midway University.
As one of 25 participating institutions in North America and Europe, Midway University is offering the visiting teachers a holistic program that provides English language instruction, teaching methodology, site visits to area schools, and extracurricular activities.
Midway University’s Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Charles Roberts, says that the school’s role as a host institution provides a unique opportunity for the visiting teachers, as well as Midway’s students and the community.
“Introducing our visitors to the American culture and educational system is a big part of their time here, but the learning is really mutual. Midway is committed to providing its students a global education and the opportunity to interact with people from other countries and cultures is just one way we can meet that commitment.”
In addition to their classroom work, the educators will visit some local attractions including the Kentucky Horse Park, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Kentucky History Museum, Kentucky State Capitol, Bourbon Trail, and Newport Aquarium. The teachers will return to Panama on March 3rd to resume their teaching duties.