Monday, October 27, 2014

Spanish majors help migrant children of Central PA through summer internship

Sarah Jeffrey with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus
Spanish majors Amber Stanton, Jenny Lipps and Sarah Jeffrey were hand selected by Dr. Amarilis Hidalgo-DeJesus to participate in a summer internship at the Central Pennsylvania Migrant Program in Hazleton, through the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit.

The students worked with children from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico to provide bilingual lessons in science, mathematics, reading and writing.

All students must be Spanish majors to be eligible to participate in the program, but some also focus their studies in education, communications, sociology, business and speech pathology.

“It was a great opportunity to experience working with children in grades 1 and 2 and also experiencing a co-teaching classroom design. The director, Sandra Medina, was incredibly helpful. We all were invited to teach as paid teachers for the upcoming summer program next year,” said Jeffery.
Jenny Lipps participates in Zumba with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus
In addition to being the sole teachers most of the time in the program, the interns also created extracurricular activities and art projects to engage students in learning as well as participated in field trips and Zumba classes with the children.

As many of the migrant children were still in transitional stages of their ESL education, the interns developed activities to help them gain confidence in their speaking skills.

Jeffery, Lipps and Stanton also mentored high school students and worked more closely with them due to the level of difficulty in learning a foreign language as an adult.

“My experience as an intern of the migrant program was one of the memories that I will always value. It reminded me my own experience coming to this country at a young age,” said Lipps.
Amber Stanton with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus

Lipps also participated in a science program in which she translated science terminology of the human body from English to Spanish and created accompanying bilingual activities to foster better understanding of her lessons.
Other interns also helped to translate documents and gained experience in interpretation work through their communications with parents of the children and other teachers. According to Hidalgo-DeJesus, this experience will help the students in their post-grad work, specifically regarding the Federal Court Interpretation Program.

“The evaluations were excellent. Every year, the directors are very happy with our students and some of them get hired at the end of it, which is a great thing from our program,” said Hidalgo-DeJesus. 

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