In 2012 the Ministry of Education of San Luis, Argentina, launched a project to establish a series of public bilingual digital schools across the province, with Trinity’s Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) exams selected as the international English test for students. The first of these was the Nelson Mandela School. Trinity’s GESE exams test the English speaking and listening skills of people whose first language is not English, and focus on building confidence and motivation in their English language communication.
In certain areas of Argentina access to broader educational opportunities for some communities has previously been relatively limited. This disadvantage is now being addressed through a new generation of digital schools, with a focus on enabling technology, learning and speaking English, a philosophy of creating global citizens and specially trained teachers, sensitive to student needs and language development.
Trinity’s role in establishing the first of these schools, the Nelson Mandela primary school, was integral, due to the strengths of GESE exams in encouraging and building motivation and confidence in using English. These enable students to chart their progress from beginner to proficiency and encourage language teaching from an early age. As candidates move up the grades, they undertake tasks in the exam that progressively require a more advanced use of language.
The new school’s head teacher, and academic coordinator of each of the bilingual schools in San Luis, Mary Celeste de Leon, was already aware of the strengths and flexibility of Trinity’s language exams, as well as the opportunities for student progression, and was keen to involve Trinity closely in the teacher training preparations for the new school.
A series of one day training sessions, focusing on critical thinking, creativity and inter-cultural awareness followed with 110 English teachers in attendance over the three sessions.This training was facilitated by Dr Claudia Ferradas, an experienced and highly qualified consultant in the fields of language, literature and education and intercultural studies, and tailored precisely to the needs of the students and the new school’s curriculum.
English teaching is now firmly integrated into Argentina’s schools at primary and secondary level and follows Trinity’s GESE exam specifications with thousands of students, of all ages, benefiting. Two further digital schools have subsequently opened in the province of San Luis, each following the same pattern as the Nelson Mandela School, with a strong focus on technology and Trinity’s English language exams, and the learning benefits that these bring.
‘The idea of creating a public bilingual digital school, the first in the country, opens doors to the world and shows our young people that there are no barriers to progress. In the same way that Nelson Mandela demonstrated that the ideals he defended were not utopian, we understand that teaching must prepare our generations to be citizens of the world - and Trinity’s support has greatly helped us on this journey’
Mary Celeste de Leon, Academic coordinator Public Bilingual schools in San Luis