Experiencing Classroom Organization in the Yucatan

During this past winter session six Graduate School of Education students traveled to Mérida, Mexico, the capitol of Yucatán to participate in the GSE’s first Classroom Organization course offered in the country.  
Designed to help future teachers create a classroom atmosphere that is productive and culturally responsive, the program enabled students to attend class at  Universidad Autónoma deYucatán (UADY) alongside Mexican pre-service teachers.  In the course, students taught one another about the educational system in their respective countries, and visited local elementary schools and high schools. 
Outside of the classroom, the GSE students experienced the rich culture and history of the region via organized excursions including a trip to the ancient Mayan temple Uxmal, where efforts to preserve the Mayan language were evident.  
Dr. Mary Curran, Coordinator of Language Education Programs at the Graduate School of Education, created this program with the hopes of preparing New Jersey teachers for working with the large population of Mexican and Mexican-American students and parents in our area. 
“It's important for our teachers to be culturally responsive–teachers who understand the sociopolitical context in which they are teaching,” Curran explains, “teachers who acknowledge that learning and teaching are culturally influenced, and teachers who have the knowledge, skills and disposition to adapt their teaching as necessary given the backgrounds of their students.”
The UADY, is one of the oldest and largest universities in southern Mexico.  The university is ranked as one of the top ten public universities in the country and is located in Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, one of Mexico's most secure and best-developed regions.  Dr. Curran was assisted in organizing the program by Elizabeth Dunkel, Rutgers Study Abroad Coordinator in Mérida, Gabriela Quintal Avilés, UADY Director of International Programs, and Blanca Adan Sobrado, UADY Professor of Classroom Organization.
Learn more about the program by visiting the blog Culturally-Responsive Classroom Management or contacting Dr. Mary Curran at mary.curran@gse.rutgers.edu or 848-932-0790