MACOMB, IL — Last Monday, 30 teachers and administrators from across Myanmar completed leadership training at Western Illinois University. As part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at expanding educational opportunities between Western and the International Language & Business Center (ILBC) of Yangon (Myanmar), the teachers took part in the “Educational Leadership Institute.” The nearly month-long training was comprised of a variety of classes, seminars and activities designed to improve their educational leadership and teaching methodology knowledge and skills while they experienced American culture at WIU.
According to Rick Carter, executive director of Western’s School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, the MOU, which was established in 2014, provides exchange opportunities for students, faculty and staff between WIU and the ILBC. The 30 educators (who teach and lead at all levels in their schools in Myanmar) were at Western April 16-May 12 this year.
While here, they took part in sessions led by faculty and administrators in Western’s College of Education and Human Services and College of Arts and Sciences and engaged in creative activities, such as working with clay, led by faculty from Western’s art department. They also observed Western’s student-run television newscast News3 (WIUTV3), experienced a music lesson and toured the School of Music and participated in the high ropes course, a team-building exercise, offered through the WIU Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration’s Horn Field Campus.
“We learned a lot about educational leadership and about teaching strategies,” explained YuYu Maw, a fourth-grade English teacher from Yangon. “The training has helped to refresh our teaching methodology knowledge, and we will be able to apply all that we learned in our schools. Once we arrive home, we will also present what we learned to the teachers and administrators, from all the different levels, in our schools.”
According to Carter, this is the second year Western has hosted teachers and administrators from Myanmar for educational leadership training. In April and May 2014, 17 teachers from 24 schools across Myanmar completed training at Western through the MOU agreement.
“I visited Myanmar and many of the ILBC schools a little over a year ago. It is great to see this relationship grow so quickly,” Carter said. “The 30 teachers and administrators sent to WIU are amazing. They came well prepared and represented their country in a positive manner. I am pleased with Helena Lira and the program she built for them as part of WIU’s outreach. I anticipate that opportunities with Myanmar and ILBC will only grow in the future.”
At a farewell dinner May 11, ILBC Management Director U Tin Maung Win, shared his thanks (via a ILBC representative) with the faculty and staff at Western who made the leadership training possible.
“I would like to convey my message to the president of WIU and WIU family that I, on behalf of ILBC, thank Dr. Thomas and all WIU family members for everything they have done to help Myanmar and ILBC,” Maung noted. “I would also like to add special thanks to Dr. Rick Carter, Brenda McConnell, Christie Carmack and Helena Lira [all from WIU’s Center for International Studies, as well as to [Department of Educational Studies Chair] Gloria Delany-Barmann, and everyone who has helped the tie between WIU and ILBC grow stronger and stronger,” he added.
“The Memorandum of Understanding between Western Illinois University and the International Language & Business Center provides even greater global experiences for our faculty, students and staff,” WIU President Jack Thomas said. “One of our goals at Western Illinois University is to further internationalize our campus, including faculty, staff and student exchange. Agreements with international partners, such as the ILBC, provide excellent academic opportunities for not only our campus community, but to students from around the world.”
The ILBC was established in 1995 with a small language class of 20 students. Since then, it has become the leading institution among the private education sector in Myanmar. Today, the company has established 24 schools in seven major cities of the country, providing education and language training to approximately 8,000 students, from pre-K through grade 12.
Source: Western Illinois University