By Merry Tomasello
On July 23 19 teachers and one administrator from the Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education in Daegu, South Korea, observed summer classes at the Harker lower school campus as well as the English Language Institute at the Saratoga site. Kelly Espinosa and Anthony Wood coordinated these visits.
These English teachers from grades 3-6 in different elementary schools throughout Daegu were chosen by their school districts to take part in a one-month intensive program at San Jose State University’s International Gateways program. Their objective is to improve their English skills and practice new teaching methods. Since 2008 Korean teacher groups have been offered this training at SJSU and other U.S. universities as part of a sizable investment by the South Korean government to improve the quality of English instruction at all levels in the public schools. Nine different groups of middle school and high school teachers have also attended the Teaching English in English program at SJSU after completing five months of intensive English study at a Korean university.
I am a former Harker ESL teacher and have been an instructor in the International Gateways program at SJSU since 2001, and I have arranged several Harker tours. Every teacher group has been favorably impressed with the outstanding Harker facilities, the quality of instruction and the behavior of Harker’s students.
The International Gateways program is part of the San Jose State University Foundation which receives no state funding, and is financed entirely from tuition from its international students. Its mission since 1975 is to offer high quality English language programs, cultural experiences and support services to international students and professionals. The Teaching English in English program is only one of the programs offered in International Gateways, which specializes in Academic and TOEFL Preparation for students who wish to attend an American university for undergraduate or graduate study.