Faculty Research Grant: Kaiser in Argentina, Uruguay

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Faculty Research Grant: Kaiser in Uruguay

DJ Kaiser, associate professor and coordinator of Teaching English as a Second Language in the School of Education, concluded his research in South America supported by a Faculty Research Grant in preparation for a longer research project with a U.S. Fulbright Scholars Grant, which will begin March 2016 in Uruguay. 

Read about the first part of his trip here.

In his second week in Uruguay, he had the opportunity to visit the Alianza Binational Cultural Center. Alianza teachers and staff gave Kaiser a full tour of the facilities, including classrooms, a media studio, meeting rooms, a library, and two theatre spaces. Kaiser was asked to record a message in their media studio, which may be seen here. The Alianza provides private English classes and teacher training, and is also a partner with Ceibal en Inglés (the project Kaiser is researching) by providing remote teachers.

Kaiser Argentina Workshop in Buenos Aires

Kaiser also traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he met with two coordinators in the Ministry of Education for the city of Buenos Aires, one of whom has worked closely with writing many of the lesson plans for Uruguay’s Ceibal en Inglés program. During the afternoon, Kaiser delivered a 2.5-hour workshop to coordinators and directors of English language teachers for area primary schools. 

“I was asked to develop a workshop on how to teach English while producing a musical. They wanted ideas on how to integrate English language instruction with their Music and Arts program,” explained Kaiser. “At first I thought it would be impossible, but then I decided to take up the challenge. In the end, I was able to present a workshop showing ways to break down producing an original musical with Task-Based Language Teaching and still differentiating for varying language proficiency levels during language activities. It turned out to be a lot of fun for everyone!”

Kaiser then returned to the Alianza in downtown Montevideo where he was invited to teach a class for Ceibal en Inglés as a remote teacher to a group of students in the neighboring department of Canalones. 

Kaiser-MontevideoKaiser teaching a remote class in Montevideo, Uruguay

“The hardest part at first is not being in the classroom with the students,” said Kaiser. “But the classroom teacher was able to help with classroom management, and students were still participating and using English. I was able to write on the board and students could present to me sentences they wrote in their notebook. We even got up on our feet and played a game.” 

Teaching point classrooms are fully equipped with videoconference technology that allows remote teachers to control the cameras both at the teaching point and in the classroom. Materials in CREA 2, Ceibal's Learning Management System, are used during remote classes and include homework for students to continue their learning outside the classroom.

In his final week in Uruguay, Kaiser made a visit to an International Baccalaureate school to learn more about English language instruction in private schools. At the end of his final week in Montevideo, he delivered a presentation at the central offices for Plan Ceibal on "Language Planning and Policy: A Lens to Focus on the Roles We Play in Language Instruction.” 

In March Kaiser will return to Uruguay for three months to begin his research focusing on the experience of classroom teachers in the Ceibal en Inglés project.

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