Feb. 23, 2017
For Immediate Release
By Kyrsten Hill, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University’s Dr. Sharon Hundley, Dr. Beverly Ennis and other faculty members host a trip to Belize every year with students from programs in the School of Education. Belize is located in Central America, and is surrounded by Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala.
Every year the students, along with faculty and staff, collect supplies to take to Belize.
Hundley said they collect supplies to take with them for orphanages and schools. All School of Education students make games and activities to send with the students who are going for the children they’ll be working with in Belize.
The School of Education students save money, receive donations and fundraises for this trip. Some are able to use financial aid to help fund the trip.
When the students and staff arrive in Belize, they have an escort with them who show them around and take them to their Host Houses.
Dr. Robin Magruder, assistant professor of education, who has also attended, said, “One of our favorite aspects was the host family. We stayed with a high school teacher, Delthia, and her two sons, Ainsleigh and Ainslynn. We became immersed in their lives when we were out of the classroom. We traveled throughout Belmopan, visiting sites and markets. The most memorable experience was taking the oldest son to his soccer practice.”
Hundley said, “We’d rather stay in Host Housing and get the full cultural experience rather than stay in a hotel or resort.”
Those attending submit Intent to Teach documents to the Ministry of Education in Belize to obtain licenses to teach while visiting. Therefore, the students are allowed to actually enter the classroom as a teacher.
English is the primary language used in the schools. At home, the children speak one of the four other spoken languages, Garifuna, Spanish, Creole and/or Mayan.
This language diversity provides students an introduction and experience to working with students who speak different languages when they get back to the United States.
They teach and interact with the Belizean students, and Campbellsville University’s School of Education students learn how they do things in the classrooms.
Last year, the Ministry of Education released their entire early childhood faculty in the whole country for professional development provided by School of Education faculty.
One school they partner with is a Mayan school and most of their students are from the Mayan culture.
Magruder said, “Since I am a professor in the School of Education, I had the opportunity to teach fifth grade for a week in the Mayan School. This was a great opportunity to model pedagogy (how to teach) and content knowledge.”
Along with getting to experience teaching in Belize, students also get to do some site seeing.
They travel to the Cayes, the second largest coral reef in the world, and visit the Mayan Ruins.
While the students are in Belize, they attend church with their host families. Hundley, who is an associate professor of education and chair of early childhood education, described their churches as very charismatic, and that they dance to the local music played and take the Word seriously.
Belize has a Christian environment. Hundley said, “It’s hard for them to imagine that we aren’t allowed to pray in school or talk about Jesus, because they’re so centered around the Word there.
The School of Education is working on a grant with UNESCO and the ECE (Early Childhood Development Education) for these trips.
The students learn various instructional strategies and build their skills while also getting course credit and field hours.
Ennis, dean of the School of Education, and Hundley said, “Everyone comes back saying it was life changing.”
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 4,500 students offering over 80 programs of study including 19 master’s degrees, six postgraduate areas and seven pre-professional programs.
The university has off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset and Hodgenville with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville and a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.