Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Valdivia Travelogue V

By Georgia Wyche

December has been a busy month in Valdivia and at Universidad Austral de Chile, especially with the holidays, classes and other duties at the university. Furthermore, this is the first time I’ve ever experienced Christmas in the southern hemisphere. I think Christmas in summer has its qualities but I still prefer celebrating Christmas in winter. Nothing beats a white Christmas.

During this month, I’ve continued teaching classes at the UACh Virginia Tech center and on campus. I’ve also been advising students and assisting other English professors in their classes at the university. In addition, I continue to build and strengthen the relationship between UACh and Virginia Tech. I’m excited because there are more exciting projects in the works at UACh in the coming months. I look forward to blogging about my upcoming work experiences.

The English conversation classes I was teaching at the Virginia Tech center to honors students and university professors finished at the end of December. Once those classes ended, I began teaching similar conversation classes to journalists from different departments on campus. These classes have been going very well and I look forward to working more with the UACh journalists. They are an entertaining group of professionals.
Georgia's English Pedagogy students

Moreover, in January Dr. Juan Claudio Gutierrez (professor of anatomy at the UACh Vet School) and I are going to be teaching and leading an intensive workshop on scientific writing and presentation skills to university researchers. The workshop will lead into a class that I will be teaching in March. The scientific writing classes have been arranged for UACh researchers at the department of graduate research, under the supervision of Dr. Ernesto Zumelzu.

I’m also continuing to teach applied linguistics to English pedagogy students. I’ve been very happy with the class and my students. I feel my students and I have learned a lot of valuable information in the field of applied linguistics. Moreover, my students recently took the mid-term exam and I’m thrilled to say that they all did very well. The highest score you can earn in Chile is 7 and many of them earned 6.5 and above.

My English pedagogy students have also finished their teaching practices. Summer vacation and school is out for non-university students from December to March in Chile. To finish out the school year for my students and their mentor teachers, a nice ceremony/banquet was held in their honor. I really enjoyed attending this ceremony because I was able to meet my student’s mentor teachers and some of their students.

In conjunction with teaching applied linguistics to the English pedagogy students, I hold weekly informal conversation classes for those students who want to practice their spoken English. I’m also a thesis advisor to a group of English pedagogy students.

In February, I will also be teaching English classes for the department of extension and outreach at UACh. Dr. Arturo Escobar is the director of this department and would like me to teach a class to craftsmen and artisans in Paillaco, Chile. I will be teaching them Basic English vocabulary dealing with their field of work and some basic conversational English so they are able to communicate more easily with tourists. Paillaco is a town located about 45 minutes from Valdivia. I’m looking forward to this teaching experience and being involved with the department of extension and outreach at UACh.

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