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UTeach-Liberal Arts Promotes Teacher Training in Guatemala

By Jessica Sinn, College of Liberal Arts
Published: Aug. 7

Guatemala delegation

Left to right: Richard Flores, senior associate dean of academic affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and director of the UTeach-Liberal Arts program; Cynthia Carolina del Aguila, minister of education; Anjum Malik, co-founder and managing partner of the Alhambra-U.S. Chamber.

Representatives from The University of Texas at Austin's UTeach-Liberal Arts teacher training program visited Guatemala July 15-20 in an effort to help educators develop better teaching strategies. Joined by the Alhambra-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the delegates met with education leaders and policymakers to offer expertise in teacher training and English language for business.

The UTeach-Liberal Arts delegates introduced their unique approach to teacher training-a nationally recognized middle and high school teacher preparation program that emphasizes practical, hands-on field experience in public school classrooms.

"After meeting with the Minister of Higher Education, university presidents, and private sector educators it is clear UTeach-Liberal Arts can work with local educators in strengthening teacher education," says Richard Flores, senior associate dean of academic affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and director of the UTeach-Liberal Arts program. "We discussed a series of training possibilities and models that were received quite well, and we look forward to developing partnerships across various education sectors in Guatemala."

Flores said they took the first steps in building partnerships with Guatemala's top education officials by meeting with representatives from the office of the president and the minister of education as well as with key cabinet ministers and the presidents of Guatemala's premier universities.

The overseas initiative was spearheaded by the Alhambra Chamber, an Austin-based nonprofit that promotes international education initiatives in the Persian Gulf region.

"Few skills are as useful in the global economy and as beneficial for an individual's marketability as functionality in English," says Anjum Malik, delegation member and co-founder of Alhambra Chamber.  "Our meetings in Guatemala revealed significant interest and commitment in this area and we are excited to work with local partners in Guatemala to further develop their education initiatives."

This is the second joint endeavor between the two groups. Last spring, UTeach-Liberal Arts and Alhambra carried out a successful education outreach initiative in Saudi Arabia, where they met with several education officials and offered a variety of teacher-training workshops.

"These missions show what is possible when you blend high-level connections and familiarity with local culture and etiquette with the world-class talent and programs offered by the University of Texas," Malik said.

Banner image: Richard Flores and Cynthia Carolina del Aguila, minister of education.