Leeds Beckett represented at Panama Bilingüe Congress
Principal Lecturer Sue Birch and Head of Teacher Training Heather Buchanan, visited Panama to attend the Panama Bilingüe Congress, attended by over 2,000 English language teachers from Panama, who have been on teacher training programmes in the UK, USA and Canada.
Developed as a consequence of the Panamanian president, Juan Carlos Varela, recognising a need to improve public education and economic development in Panama, the programme, launched in the UK in January 2015, has to date seen 145 teachers study at Leeds Beckett. At the congress the president signed an agreement which will enable the program to continue into the next administration.
The Panama Bilingüe programme is an eight-week course designed by the world-leading languages team at Leeds Beckett, and includes classroom pedagogy, school and cultural visits, phonetics, leadership skills and English language development.
The British Ambassador to Panama, Dr Ian Collard, said: “Leeds Beckett University have been a crucial partner in the Panama Bilingüe programme, supporting the delivery of English language training to dozens of Panamanian teachers. Panama Bilingüe represents the flagship educational programme of Panama’s Government; and I am thrilled that universities such as Leeds Beckett are playing an active role.”
Speaking about their studies at Leeds Beckett, former students Vielka Quiroz and Marlena Espinosa said: “We learnt some amazing strategies to teach English to Panamanian students. Our teachers are the greatest British teachers; we would like to be like them. They are very organised and their lessons are very well explained.”
Leeds Beckett are also currently participating in a 16-week Bilingüe programme for specially selected first-year university students to study an intensive program of language, culture and professional skills at the University’s Headingley Campus.