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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

LLILAS Outreach Helps Educators Explore Mexico

Posted: April 5, 2007

Last year, a LLILAS–Performing Arts Center collaboration resulted in an extraordinary opportunity for 15 K–12 educators: a month-long seminar in Oaxaca, Mexico City, Morelia, Mazatlán, and Guadalajara. A combination of background lectures, site visits, and performances transformed participants’ teaching about Mexico.

This is the second LLILAS-backed seminar to receive funding from Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad. LLILAS Outreach also organized a 2004 seminar in Salvador, Brazil. The Mexico program was inspired in part by the earlier grant and in part by ArtesAméricas, the joint PAC-LLILAS program designed to foster an active and vibrant cultural exchange with Latin America.

Since 2002, LLILAS Outreach and Community Relations at the PAC have worked together to create contextualization materials about Latin American countries and cultures for K–12 and community audiences. An interest in extending new learning experiences to the K–12 audience inspired Natalie Arsenault, LLILAS Outreach Coordinator, Judith Rhedin, Assistant Director at the PAC, and Dr. Robert DeSimone, professor of music and director of the Sarah and Ernest Butler Opera Center, to seek funding for a seminar and curriculum development project on the performing arts in Mexico.

After the seminar, participants created lesson plans to be shared with their peers through professional development sessions and educator conferences. All of the lesson plans will soon be available, along with lessons from previous Fulbright programs, on the LLILAS Outreach Web site. Says Arsenault, “The performing arts provided us with a captivating entry point into Mexican culture. Through the lesson plans that were created by our participants, we want to promote new, dynamic approaches to teaching about Mexico throughout Texas and beyond.”

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