Plaid Works

Ashley Dentler: Lessons Learned in Ecuador

“I have a new found appreciation for English language learners who go to school and reside here in the United States. … From firsthand experience, I found how difficult and challenging language barriers can be.” — Ashley Dentler

<em>Ashley Dentler<br><br></em>Ashley Dentler

Ashley Dentler, a 2016 Alma grad, worked in Quito, Ecuador, as an assistant teacher — or tia — in a preschool and childcare center of 40 children.

“As a student studying to be a teacher, I was taken back by how different American schools are compared to Ecuadorian schools,” says Ashley. “While I was able to be a leader and give the Ecuadorian teachers insight on how to make their activities developmentally appropriate, I also learned from the Ecuadorian culture how to foster a positive social environment.”

She hopes to create a classroom that combines the academic standards of the United States with the social environment of Ecuador.

She realized just how lucky she was to have grown up with a stay-at-home mom; the children at the daycare were from middle- to upper-class families in which both parents worked and were separated from their parents for up to 10 hours a day. The children craved love and attention.

Even though Ashley took over eight years of Spanish classes, she still faced challenges in trying to express herself.

<em>Ashley Dentler<br><br></em>Ashley Dentler

“I have a new found appreciation for English language learners who go to school and reside here in the United States,” says Ashley. “I would like to go into a field that would assist all the ESL children in today’s schools because, from firsthand experience, I found how difficult and challenging language barriers can be.”

Support from the Posey Global Leadership Scholarship program made it possible for Ashley to have her experience in Ecuador.

Alma encourages its students to look beyond Michigan’s boundaries.

The Posey Global Leadership Scholarship provides opportunities for Alma students to travel anywhere in the world and complete a self-designed project. Since 2006, more than 280 Posey Global awards have been granted to students for research and service projects in 47 countries.

Story published on July 26, 2016