BY ALEX GRUBER
Education majors at St. Norbert College may soon have the chance to teach English as a second language to high-school students in Slovakia.
The possibility of adding another location to the college’s student-teaching program was discussed at a meeting on Thursday, Feb. 5, in the Center for Norbertine Studies at the Mulva Library.
Those present at the meeting included Dr. Bola Delano-Oriaran, assistant professor of education and director of the Student Teaching Abroad program at St. Norbert College, Martin Štrbák, abbot of Jasov Abbey in Slovakia, Gary Neville, abbot of St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Andrew Ciferni, director of the Center for Norbertine Studies and Marian “Marco” Fiala ’15, a hockey player and student from Slovakia.
The first meeting on the proposal was held in April of 2014. Fiala translated between Delano-Oriaran and the abbot for more difficult phrases and ideas. Abbot Štrbák would like to have individuals from St. Norbert College come to the Norbertine high school (“gymnasium”) in Kosice, Slovakia, near the abbey of Jasov, to teach English as a second language to its students so that they may have English proficiency.
School years in Slovakia have two terms, one starting in September and the other in February. Student teachers from St. Norbert College could travel to the school in either of these periods, teaching for approximately eight weeks.
Not only current St. Norbert students could journey to Slovakia to teach. Alumni from the college who graduated in the education field would also have the chance to teach in Kosice. These teachers would also be able to commit to a longer teaching period, from six months to one year.
Furthermore, a number of ESL students at St. Norbert College are receiving certification to teach English as a second language. Once certified, they also could teach in Slovakia during summers for approximately five weeks.
Abbot Štrbák also expressed his hope of sending one or two exceptionally bright students from Slovakia to St. Norbert College’s ESL program to gain an extra education in English for approximately five to six weeks.
Fiala discussed the possibility of creating a presentation on Slovakia for those students potentially interested in teaching there. Many people picture the country as rather backwards, but in fact it is as modern as most other European nations.
The meeting attendees hope to have a teacher in Slovakia as early as Sept., if possible.