EFL Multimodal Project in Costa Rican Night Schools

The Project

The main goal is to improve the English language communicative skills through content-based and workplace instruction: A collaborative and blended project (face-to-face and online) between the School of Education at Indiana University, The United States Embassy and The Colina and Del Valle (Pseudonyms) Night Schools in Costa Rica. The participants in this project are students in night schools around San Ramon, Costa Rica.  Faridah Pawan, Professor at Indiana University Bloomington and Natalia Ramirez Casalvolone, a third-year doctoral student at the School of Education and Professor at Universidad de Costa Rica - Sede de Occidente, are  the project coordinators that support these students and provides professional development for their EFL teachers.

The Students

 The students served are diverse in their ages and current situations. They come to night school from jobs that range from house cleaning to vegetable vending. One student is a 39-year-old mother who returned to school after 20 years away. She aims to be a role model for her daughters, ages 15 and 13, whom she brought with her to night school. All aspire to further their education to the college level and consider EFL as a critical skill to acquire as part of the journey toward their goal.

Pawan, Ramirez Casalvolone and Mary Scholl, their partner from the non-governmental organization, Centro Espiral Mana, engage with these students using multimodal and blended platforms. Informal learning is the focus of these engagements to help the students self-direct their learning and use their daily life experiences, resources such as peer groups, family, the media and others within the students’ immediate surroundings.To support the project, Universidad de Costa Rica English professors offer students workshops where they develop specific language skills. ( In the picture Prof. Luz Marina Vásquez and Prof. Roy Gamboa during their Pronunciation Workshop)

How the project develops