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Illinois invites 138 teachers from Spain to teach in local schools

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Monday, September 9, 2019  |  Article  |  By Benjamin Yount | The Center Square

Education--Elementary and Secondary (36)
Some school kids in Illinois will get Spanish lessons from real Spanish teachers.

The Exchange Visitor Teacher Program is bringing 138 teachers from Spain to 19 school districts in Illinois.

The idea is not just to have Spanish teachers teach Spanish, but also to help share cultures.

Illinois State Board of Education Director of English Learners Sam Aguirre said it's not just the students who'll learn.

"It provides a very insightful educational experience for our educators here in this state," Aguirre said. "So that we can learn about the opportunities and processes and other programs that are implemented in other countries."

Aguirre said Illinois needs more bilingual teachers.

"This helps out because we have native speakers of Spanish that are coming into the state. They are very proficient," Aguirre said. "They can provide instruction to help our students build toward true bilingualism."

ISBE said about 12 percent of students in Illinois are English-language learners.

Most of the schools that will host one of the teachers from Spain are located in the Chicago suburbs or northern Illinois.