UNI program tries to help bring ESL teachers to Iowa schools

Cedar Falls, Iowa — A University of Northern Iowa program is looking to solve the shortage of English as a second Language teachers in the state with a new five-year scholarship plan.

Program co-leader Carmen Durham says one in four teachers in the state are graduates of U-N-I’s education programs, but something’s still missing.

The program is called U-N-I Teacher Education for Diverse Learners or “Project UNITED,” and it was created with a one-and-a-half million dollar grant to the university’s Department of Languages & Literatures.

Durham is an associate professor of Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She says one of the ideas behind Project UNITED is to expand teachers’ E-S-L thinking beyond vocabulary lessons.

The first round of scholarships went to 15 graduate students teaching in 12 rural Iowa districts, with the next year’s planned for undergraduates.



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