ESL Teaching Guide - Panama

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Miss V - May 2004

I am a teacher at the University of Panama (part-time temporary). I also am a teacher trainer for the Ministry of Education of Panama (Central America).

Recently, our country passed a law making English mandatory from K to 12th grade. Prior to the law, English was only being taught at high school level. But, students from public schools were graduating without being able to speak English while the same students from private schools did much better and as a result got the best jobs and scholarships to study abroad.

The public school system is highly lacking in resources, attitudes, etc. etc. It is like trying to walk uphill -- right now I am teaching a group of primary school English teachers of the public sector. classes are mainly methodology workshops for levels K to 6th (primary in Panama is from K to 6th). Most of these teachers work without textbooks, materials, tape recorders, etc. Plus, students themselves have very few contact hours per week in English.

Your website is very helpful for us in Panama, where resources are practically non-existent and government priorities seem to focus elsewhere from English teaching. But, we have to give it the good fight and try our best to get English teaching off to a good start in my country. - First Stop for Your Second Language Needs
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