Two ACE Teaching Fellows Awarded Fulbright Grants
Two graduating Alliance for Catholic Education Teaching Fellows, Trini Bui and Kyle Lansden, have earned grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to teach abroad next year.
Bui taught middle school language arts at St. George Catholic School in Fort Worth, Texas, the past two years. Lansden taught third grade at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Oklahoma City the past two years. Each will receive a Master of Education degree from the University of Notre Dame in July. Bui will teach English in Vietnam from August 2018 to May 2019, and Lansden will teach English in Brazil from March 2019 to November 2019.
Bui said her ACE teaching prepared her to work with high school and college students in Vietnam.
“My ACE experience has made me more confident in pursuing Fulbright. It’s given me experience with teaching, dealing with unexpected situations, and living outside of my comfort zone,” said Bui, who also minored in Education, Schooling, and Society as an undergraduate at Notre Dame.
Bui hopes that her Fulbright experience will give her an opportunity to connect more deeply with her own Vietnamese roots so that she can better understand her heritage while also learning to help her students explore their own cultural identities. As an ACE teacher, Bui said she was impressed by how comfortably her Vietnamese-American students engaged their culture in her classroom. Their familiarity with Vietnamese celebrations and traditions enriched class discussions, even for students from other heritages. Bui said she looks forward to representing American culture to her students in Vietnam, especially by drawing samples of American social media, music, and film into her classes.
“[As] Fulbright scholars… we work on developing a more comprehensive and complex view of the United States through activities, conversations, and relationships with the communities we’re serving,” Bui said, describing her responsibility to serve as an ambassador of the United States in Vietnam.
Lansden said he was initially inspired to learn Portuguese and study Brazilian culture after visiting Río de Janeiro for World Youth Day in 2013, Lansden looks forward to continuing to master Portuguese while supporting bilingual education in his classroom.
“Over the course of my last two years [in ACE], I really noticed how much more invested the kids are in their own educations when you are able to incorporate certain words or things from their native language and culture,” Lansden said. While teaching at Sacred Heart, Lansden said he realized that incorporating his students’ languages into instruction also was a powerful tool for building literacy skills that could later be transferred into English reading, writing, and discussion. Bilingual teaching also showed his students that their diverse cultures were valued in his classroom.
In addition to teaching English, Lansden will help train Brazilian teachers in methods of English language instruction through one of the country’s federal universities. He hopes that this experience will help him evaluate and improve his own teaching practices and techniques in foreign language instruction.
Learn more about ACE Teaching Fellows at ace.nd.edu/teach