Area universities host institute for aspiring bilingual education teachers

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(April 26, 2012) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) and the University of Texas at Austin will host the inaugural State-Wide Bilingual Education Student Organization (BESO) Leadership Institute, a gathering of more than 100 Texas college students who aspire to become bilingual education teachers.

The inaugural BESO Leadership Institute is co-sponsored by the Texas Association for Bilingual Education and the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE).

The BESO Leadership Institute is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 28 at Our Lady of the Lake University, 411 S.W. 24th St., San Antonio, Texas 78207. The event is free and open to all undergraduate and graduate bilingual education students residing in Texas.

Keynote speakers will include Carmen Tafolla, UTSA College of Education and Human Development writer-in-residence for Children's, Youth and Transformative Literature and San Antonio poet laureate, and Joe Bernal, a former state senator who authored the first Texas bilingual education act.

Robert Milk, chair of the UTSA Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies; Ellen Riojas Clark first BESO faculty adviser and BESO founder; and Belinda Flores, first BESO president, will be honored for their service to bilingual education. UTSA alumna Belinda TreviƱo Schouten '97, bilingual education coordinator at OLLU, and Margarita Machado-Casas, UTSA assistant professor of bicultural bilingual studies, are the event co-creators.

The leadership institute is the kickoff event for the National Association for Bilingual Education BESO Special Interest Group recently approved by NABE. The group will bring bilingual students from universities across the United States and abroad for the first time. Machado-Casas from UTSA and Schouten are the chairs of the BESO National Special Interest Group. The national event will host prominent speakers during the NABE annual BESO meeting.

The institute agenda includes presentations from local school districts. Participants may choose from a series of professional development seminars focused on classroom engagement, the use of technology in the classroom, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, the TExES Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test, classroom pedagogy, lesson planning and building a professional portfolio.

To learn more about this weekend's institute, contact UTSA Professor Margarita Machado-Casas at 210-458-5571 or OLLU professor Belinda Schouten at 210-434-6711, ext. 2473.

To register, visit the Texas Association for Bilingual Education website.