In cooperation with the local government in Andalusia and Madrid, CIEE places program participants as Language and Culture Assistants in public schools in the Autonomous Region of Andalusia and community of Madrid as part of a nationwide multilingual initiative. If you are selected to participate on the CIEE Teach in Spain program, you will work as a Language and Culture Assistant, one of the tools essential to increasing cultural and linguistic understanding between the citizens of Spain and North America.
As a Language and Culture Assistant in a city, town, or rural area in Andalusia or community Madrid, you’ll form an essential part of this national multilingual initiative. Duties vary depending on the school type and its length of participation in the multilingual initiative, referred to as its bilingual year.
As native English speakers and U.S. cultural experts, assistants stimulate the students' interests and greatly improve their oral communication abilities. Program participants may work with entire classes or with small groups of students to develop speaking, listening, reading, writing skills, and cultural understanding. In many schools the teaching assistant also teaches English to members of the school staff. Assistants are never left alone with entire classes nor are they responsible for grading, discipline, or supervision of students.
No two positions are alike in the Teach in Spain program. You could be teaching English to primary, secondary, and university-level students at a variety of levels of English ability.
Program participants work in Spain under the supervision and guidance of classroom teachers and work 12-16 hours per week depending on placement. Participants may agree to participate in or lead other activities outside of the 12-16 classroom hours including: faculty meetings, making presentations as an expert from North America, and participating in extra-curricular activities such as music, theater performances, sporting events, international day, English language club, and more. Your obligation is for 12-16 hours in the classroom, however, many participants have found very enriching activities and community involvement through their work in schools. You can search out internship with a local business, volunteer for a local charity, or coach a local sports team!
Schools and Location
There are several kinds of public schools in Spain, although all fall into the general categories of primary, secondary, and continuing learning language schools.
- EEI/CEIPPrimary School with Early Childhood Education (ages 3-12)
- CEPRPrimary School (ages 6-12)
- IESSecondary School (ages 12 -16 or 18)
- EOIOfficial Language School (ages 15 and up, predominately adults)
The bilingual initiative is in its ninth year for 2013-2014. The schools in Andalusia and Madrid in which CIEE places Language and Culture Assistants have been participating from zero to five years. In the program there are French, German, and English bilingual schools. Almost all CIEE participants will be placed in English bilingual schools; French-Canadians who participate will be placed in French bilingual schools.
Bilingual Year Zero Schools
When a school wishes to join the bilingual initiative and incorporate a second language into their curriculum, the staff submit a project to the regional government detailing the school’s objectives, resources, and goals. If its application is accepted, the school enters the bilingual "year zero" phase the following year and receives a Language and Culture Assistant to help them prepare for the project ahead.
During "year zero," there are no content courses taught in the target second language (French, German, or English). The Language and Culture Assistant works with students in foreign language classes and helps the teachers with their second language skills to prepare them to teach not only the second language but also other subject matter in the second language (eg, you could be helping a science teacher prepare lessons and learn proper pronunciation). "Year zero" schools are a fantastic opportunity to get involved in a large undertaking at the ground level. Participants must be flexible and ready to be innovative to maximize this fantastic opportunity.
Bilingual Year One to Year Nine Schools
Participants placed in schools that are "year one" to "year nine" will work as an assistant teacher in second language classes as well as alongside local Spanish teachers covering a wide variety of subjects such as history, science, music, and physical education taught partially in the target language. All Language and Culture Assistants placed in primary and secondary schools will also be responsible for helping their fellow teachers improve their English/French language abilities. Although the program is a nation-wide initiative, each school is able to employ their Language and Culture Assistant as they see it maximizes the benefit of having a local expert on hand. You will DEFINITIELY only be expected to work 12 or 16 hours per week, help the school learn both the second language as well as the culture that accompanies it, and be a teaching assistant, NOT a lead teacher in charge of a classroom. You MAY teach some or all classes to students, teach some or all classes to teachers, help with language class, help with computer class, help with music class, help with dance class, etc. The most important component to a successful experience is an open mind and a desire to share your language and culture in the way the school wants to receive it, however it may be!
Official Language Schools
Official language schools (Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas) are very different from primary and secondary schools. They are public schools, which is why they receive Language and Culture Assistants, but they are dedicated solely to teaching modern languages to adults and older secondary school students who have already mastered two languages. The EOI schools only teach languages. Participants placed in official language schools will assist in English classes of all levels, helping Spanish citizens who want to improve their English abilities for professional or personal reasons. The official language schools do not receive the title of "bilingual" nor are they classified by year. There are official language schools throughout Andalusia: all offer English and many offer other languages as well, such as French, German, Chinese, Arabic, or Italian.
CIEE places participants in two of the most beautiful and vibrant regions of Spain. Placements range from urban, town, and rural areas all over Andalusia and in and around the community of Madrid.
Andalusia is a vibrant Autonomous Region in southern Spain flanked by the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal, and the rest of Spain to the north. It is bursting with quaint pueblo blanco villages, traditional cities, and unbeatable culture. Whether you prefer a merienda or late night tapas, the culinary options in Andalusia are boundless. From olives of the heartland to the fresh catch in the Mediterranean, taste buds are never ignored. Andalusia is the birthplace of flamenco, Picasso, and Antonio Banderas as well as the home to the national sport corrida de toros, a tradition enjoyed or loathed by locals and visitors alike. The countless fiestas and long siestas all contribute to the unique customs of Andalusia.
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is located in the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula. Points of interest include the historic center dating back to the Hapsburg Empire and world-renowned art museums, including the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza. In addition to being a rich cultural heritage site, Madrid is a lively, artistic metropolis that can be experienced through its variety of food, tapas bars, dance shows, opera house, music concerts, outdoor parks, jazz clubs, soccer matches, ethnic neighborhoods, and contemporary theater and cinema.