Castle shares teaching techniques with Nicaraguan educators

TYLER CASTLE, a Spanish teacher at Coal City High School, spent shared some of this teaching strategies with educators in Nicaragua this summer.

For the past 10 years Tyler Castle has been teaching Spanish at Coal City High School, and this summer he shared some of the teaching strategies he’s learned over the course of his career with educators in Nicaragua.
“One thing I have noticed at Coal City District 1 is that a lot is invested in teacher training to make sure teachers are, in turn, providing the best education possible for the students. This is something that isn’t seen at other districts in our country and certainly isn’t something seen in other countries,” Castle said.
In Nicaragua, he worked with a group called Chosen Children. They provide materials such as uniforms, school supplies and even food for students in the poorest areas of Masaya, a city about 20 minutes from Managua, the capital of Nicaragua.
For three days, Chosen Children would bus in teachers to their main campus to learn teaching strategies in different school subjects. Many of the teachers were already familiar with the program because they have students in their classroom sponsored by Chosen Children.
“I ended up facilitating two different sessions during the teachers’ conference. These sessions centered around improving English teaching techniques in the classroom,” Castle said.
Over 40 Nicaraguan English teachers attended these sessions. One  session focused on the simplicity of using a note card for practicing 12 different communication activities. The other was using physical movement to enhance the process of learning English.
Castle said one thing the teachers from the United States had to be aware of was the lack of resources available to the Nicaraguan teachers.
“So while here in Coal City we often use technology or books to enhance the teaching and learning experience, the teachers in Nicaragua do not have access to those materials. So we had to ensure that our techniques could work in the classrooms there,” he said.
Overall the experience was rewarding and eye opening for Castle.
 “While we spent three days facilitating the conference, we also spent time before that actually visiting classrooms and seeing what the education system looks like in Nicaragua. The classrooms were very crowded, typically 40 students in each classroom. Some of the classrooms didn’t even have light bulbs in the fixtures, and one school still used an outhouse for a bathroom,” he said.