English Teaching – Tilarán Program

During the winter months of 2017, and at the request of Oregon-Costa Rica Partners of the Americas (OPOA), members in the capitol city of Tilarán, Guanacaste, Costa Rica sent four different teams of volunteer English teachers to share in the teaching of a (total) nine-week English course to local citizens. The Oregon teams who each participated for a separate consecutive two week period were: Ned and Lulu Heavenrich with Sally Philips; Hugh Rayburn and Barbara Sacks; and Jacqueline Bryan and Gabriela Paige.  Another team, comprised of Beth and Dar Krambule, participated for a three week period!

Tilarán members were able to procure a classroom in a local university [think night school] for the program, and through advertising on the radio and by word of mouth, enrolled 45 students. These students comprised two different classes:

  1. one class was held from 1:00pm to 2:30pm in the afternoon;
  2. the second class was from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in the evening.

Teacher preparation time was about two hours per day, and school was in session four days a week. The students’ knowledge of spoken English varied from beginning to intermediate levels, and ages ranged from 14 to 80.  It was a fun, diverse group of motivated students!

The teachers used the JumpStart curriculum, which is an English immersion program based on “TEFL for Ticos” authored by Megan Coon and Kevin Klott.  The curriculum was prepared by Katherine Stanley Obando, Taylor Westfall, and Bryson Childress and OPOA was given permission to use it by the group Evolc-Aliarse.  It has been primarily used as a month-long intensive program for students entering high school in Costa Rica, but is flexible enough to use for adult education, as well.  Four of the nine English teachers had already used this program while teaching in Costa Rica previously. Although few Tilarán students had experienced English immersion class before, the students responded well to this JumpStart curriculum, as the program encourages interactive activities in the classroom which are designed to be fun and engaging.  This photo depicts one of the favorites of class activities: getting acquainted – in English!

TILARAN - English photo 1

This was the first year of an ongoing three-year commitment by Oregon-Costa Rica Partners to provide English teachers to Tilarán. This year’s program went from early February to mid-April. Next year’s schedule will be similar. Planning for next year will begin in June and we will be looking for teachers to participate in 2018. In order to teach, we require that at least one member of the teaching team has prior teaching experience.

The Tilarán Chapter members, led by long-time Partners member Naibe Lopez Lopez, housed, fed and entertained all visiting teachers during their weekly stays in Tilarán. Speaking as one of the participants, I can only say that our homestay in Tilarán was filled with great food, delightful experiences with member families, and much laughter.

Interested in teaching English in Tilarán??   Contact current Oregon board president, Ned Heavenrich at nednlulu@yahoo.com.  We will welcome your skills, abilities and energy!

[contributed by OPOA English Teaching Programs–Tilarán coordinator, and current Oregon board president, Ned Heavenrich]