Chilean Delegation Explores Southeast’s College of Education, Autism Center

Chilean faculty and staff members of Arturo Prat University in Iquique recently participated in a two-week summer training institute hosted by the College of Education at Southeast Missouri State University.

The institute was part of an effort to strengthen and build relationships between the universities.

“This was a great opportunity for us to exchange ideas, skills and teaching techniques,” said Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of Southeast’s College of Education.

Maria Isabel Trillos, director of Arturo Prat’s English teaching program, and three professors of English as a Second Language — Rossana Cortes, Juan Chamorro Arenas and Maria Eugenia-Avendano — met with Southeast faculty and staff from the College of Education, the Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment, and International Education and Services.

“We worked closely with Southeast to tailor our visit and the programs to our needs,” Trillos said. “During the two weeks, we got a lot of information, feedback, refreshers and even updates on new techniques, especially with technology.”

Arenas said Arturo Prat students go on to be teachers at elementary, secondary and senior schools throughout Chile, Arenas said. The collaboration with Southeast will allow them to pass on the skills and techniques they learn to their students and beyond.

“We hope to impact education in our country,” Arenas said.

One of the highlights was participating in seminars in the University’s EDvolution Center.

“We got to see what the staff and team does and how they use this space,” Arenas said.

Using the modern, high-tech environment and discussing ways to incorporate technology into their educational practices was a really good experience, Cortes said.

“The idea is to motivate our students, but it’s not the same as 10 years ago,” she said. “To give them a useful tool like the iPad, we could see how using technology is a good way to teach with concrete ideas.”

Some of the most informative seminars focused on inclusive education, Trillos said. Children with and without disabilities will be required to participate and learn together in the same classes as part of Chile’s new education guidelines.

As a part of their seminar, the group also visited Southeast’s Autism Center.

“It was amazing to see the Center,” Cortes said. “It was good to talk about information we’d heard but didn’t know much about. It was good to see how to use those strategies and how to apply them in the classroom.”

(from left to right) Juan Chamorro Arenas, Rossana Cortes, Maria Isabel Trillos and Maria Eugenia-Avendano of Arturo Prat University learn how to make a video in Southeast’s EDvolution Center.

As professors, they will have to show a new generation and Chilean teachers the tools necessary for inclusive education, she said.

The most important aspect throughout the training institute was the direct interaction with Southeast faculty and staff, Trillos said.

“We like sharing ideas, and they would ask us about our experiences and what our reality is,” she said.

Arenas agreed, saying “We had the chance to not only listen to the faculty and experts but also to ask questions, interact and get hands-on experiences.”

“They shared with us as much as they could, and I think that was the best part,” Cortes said.

Rogers-Adkinson, who will visit Arturo Prat University during the fall semester, is looking forward to the many new opportunities for Southeast students and faculty that will come with this collaboration.

“They are really wonderful people to work with,” she said. “We are very excited to see where this will take us in the future.”

Trillos will return for another two-week institute next January along with three more professors.

She’s also looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Southeast, Trillos said.

“A partnership will bring so many opportunities for our professors and students as well as faculty and students at Southeast, from programs like this training institute, to collaborative research between professors and faculty,” she said.

Top Photo Caption: Maria Isabel Trillos, director of Arturo Prat’s English teaching program, and three professors of English as a Second Language — Rossana Cortes, Juan Chamorro Arenas and Maria Eugenia-Avendano — meet with Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of Southeast’s College of Education, and Kevin Timlin, executive director of Southeast’s International Education and Services.