Students enrolled in a 200-level or above foreign language course at Allegheny College can participate in the college’s World Language Program, which gives students the opportunity to teach a foreign language and culture to fifth graders at Crawford Central School District.
A semester-long program, Allegheny sends an average of five students to schools each semester, said Teresa Herrera, associate professor of Spanish and director of the program.
According to Herrera, students of any language can participate in the program, though the most popular language is Spanish. Participants do not have to be interested in education, according to Mary Petro, ’17, who teaches Spanish at First District Elementary School.
“I think that teaching others is a wonderful way of learning and engaging with the language,” said Petro.
Students who participate in the program receive two Allegheny credits, according to Herrera. The program also assists students in creating a lesson plan and teaching a class. Paige Hickman, ’17, who also teaches Spanish, believes these resources, and the program itself, are especially useful to those who are considering a career in education.
“I get the experience of teaching a class and learning what that’s like,” said Hickman. “That’s one of the options I’m thinking about for a career in the future.”
While the program provides credit for Allegheny students, Petro believes it is also beneficial for the fifth-grade students.
“I think it’s just kind of refreshing for them, in a sense. I think it’s just a good change of pace,” she said.
Anna Doten, ’16, who also participates in the program, believes that it provides elementary students with something more than the basics of a foreign language.
“I feel like in any elementary school, there’s this bubble, where your elementary school is the farthest you walk from your house,” said Doten. “It’s really interesting to see them think in a more worldly view.”