Exchange Program with Mexican
21 Teachers-in-Training Enroll at Grossmont
A bi-cultural learning seed planted in Peter White’s
brain in 2000 is blossoming into an international
teaching program at Grossmont College.
You could call it the White-Ordonez Accord.
White, vice president of student affairs at Grossmont,
in 1999-2000 participated in a Fulbright administrator
exchange program that took him to the Teacher Training
College of Central Mexico. His counterpart, Higinio
Ordonez, sub director of academic affairs at the
college, in turn worked for a year at Grossmont.
During that experience, White had an idea. He proposed
bringing students from Teacher Training College to
Grossmont to study English and to teach Spanish to their
hosts. The program began with six students from the one
college in the spring of 2000. This year, the program,
now nationally recognized and the first of its kind in
the United States, will bring 21 students to Grossmont
from four Mexican colleges.
The students are in their third year of teacher training
when they come to Grossmont. They pay for airfare,
tuition and accommodations. They stay with an American
host family. At Grossmont, they complete four English
courses and on Fridays volunteer-teach in middle schools
in El Cajon and Lakeside. American students like
learning Spanish from their international teachers, and
the teachers learn English more effectively by their
immersion with American students.
“What is unique about this program is that this is the
only program the Mexican Ministry of Education is
accepting as full credit for teacher training,” said
White. “This program has strengthened our relationship
with the Cajon and Lakeside School Districts. There is
an excellent image of Grossmont College in the Mexican
teacher training colleges, and we are well known.”