The northern state of Tamaulipas in Mexico has launched for more than 10 years an unprecedented effort in the history of public education in Mexico. The State educational authorities, with innovative and entrepreneurial vision decided to start a pilot stage to teach English in some public elementary schools in major cities of the state.
After several years of hard work, where the people of the State were increasingly confident and pleased with the performance and achievements of Tamaulipas children with the learning English process, in 2007 a new administration of the office of English in Elementary School has started. This administration which I´m proudly part of it, was undoubtedly a watershed in the growth process of teaching the English language.
And one of the main features of this process has been the universal teaching of English for all elementary school students in the state, regardless of whether they are urban or rural, border or coast, the plains of the north of the state or the majestic mountains that cross the state of Tamaulipas, each and every one of the nearly 400,000 students in first through sixth grade have English class with every day of the week in their classrooms.
A key element to carry out this huge and successful project are the “English Teaching Counselors”, they have been teaching English to children who affectionately called them “teachers”, they are the spearhead of the teaching process, so the Government of Tamaulipas constantly been concerned for them by providing them with very important benefits like health insurance, paid holidays, leaves of pregnancy, ongoing training and work materials suitable for their teaching practice in the classroom.
But not only have served the needs of English Teaching Counselors, as a central part of this process is the academic performance of the students receiving English class, so we have strategies to consolidate the process of teaching through innovative methods and events like the State Competition of Creation of children’s stories in English, the State Competition of Christmas Carols, and of course, the award events or these both competitions that consist of the theatrical works of the winning stories and songs, in addition to the awards to the winners of both contests. However this does not stop there, with the winning stories comes an anthology or collection of stories, published by a world-class publishing house (in this case Pearson), used to carry out the Reading Week in English, academic event which promotes and encourages the practice of reading in English of this and other texts in the English language appropriate to the age of participating children all aver the State. Another example is the successful radio program “English in my School,” where children are the radio hosts participating in the air using a bilingual format, to strengthen the academic contents seen in the English class, but also with fun activities that allow them learning in a context of everyday life outside the classroom. All these actions and many more have been initiatives and projects of the administration that started in 2007 in the English program of Tamaulipas.
In the Administrative field also have had significant achievements, and most important of these was the consolidation of the program through the creation of the Basic Education English Office in Tamaulipas, which allowed successful operation of the programs and was considered a model for the creation of the National English Program in Basic Education by Federal Government in Mexico.
We are currently implementing a joint work plan between the state and federal plan, which will result in expanding coverage of the English Office to preschool and middle school students, this will undoubtedly be a success in expanding the teaching of English universally to the consider target of basic education in Mexico: Preschool, Elementary and Middle School.
As everybody can see the experience of Tamaulipas and the people who have had the opportunity and confidence of state authorities, to serve as leaders of Basic Education English Office has been very successful with many achievements in the state, but also in the national and international scenario, as a result of, the case of Tamaulipas has been presented in international educational forums such as the World Conference on Educational Authorities in Helsinki, Finland, Mexico-United States Conference of Governors, The Library of Congress of the United States of America, and several prestigious Universities in the United States as the Columbia University in New York, the University of Texas and other important institutions leaders in the field of education.
Prof. Carlos J Ojeda Castro