This is how we teach here … | PostIndependent.com
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This is how we teach here …

JOHN GARDNERGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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Hector Guillermo Bazan of Argentina exited a Spanish IV class at Roaring Fork High School on Thursday with a big smile on his face. Bridges High School principal Lyn Bair approached and asked how his observation of the class went. “Beautiful,” he responded.Enough said.Bazan, a principal at a public school in Cordoba, Argentina, and Bair were paired through the Fulbright Administrators Exchange program to visit each other’s school for a first-hand account of education systems in foreign countries.

“It’s a very well respected program,” Bair said. “It’s probably more recognized in other countries than here. But it was exciting to get it.”Bair is one of 170 educators nationwide receiving the award on behalf of the International Institute of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School and is funded by the United States Congress to recognize outstanding achievement in education.Bazan is one of 22 educators from Argentina currently visiting the United States to study the education system. And so far he’s had a great trip.”Buena,” he said in a heavy Argentinean accent. “The experience is great, beautiful. I am feeling good.”Bazan’s trip is nearing its end, but he and Bair will see each other next July when Bair travels to Cordoba to experience the education system there.”I’m very excited about the travel piece and cultural experience,” Bair said. “I’ve never been south of the equator, so I’m excited to see the stars in the southern hemisphere.”

The trip is a learning experience on several levels, Bair said. She is expecting to learn a lot about the culture and the education system in hopes to bring some insight into attracting more Hispanic and Latino students to Bridges.”We have about a 25 percent Hispanic population,” Bair said. “I went out and made a huge effort to see what we could do in order to get that representation at the school.”The year before, only 10 of the 80 students at Bridges were Hispanic and that was something that she wanted to change. But the alternative high school has a unique self-paced system where the students can, and are encouraged to learn at their own pace. But it can be difficult for a student who has just moved to the valley from another country, with limited English capabilities.”How frightening it must be to be in an environment that you don’t understand and then be required to learn,” Bair said. “That is a problem for me.”Bair said that traveling to other countries and understanding how the education system works and being open-minded about teaching in a way that students are familiar with is something that districts like the Roaring Fork School District need to do today.



“Things change so fast that if we don’t keep up we won’t be able to provide the high level of education that the kids need,” Bair said.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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