Liz Harter and Bill Gilroy | December 13, 2016
Stroll down a hallway of South Bend’s Perley Primary Fine Arts Academy and you’ll likely hear the sounds of most elementary schools: students reading aloud, teachers offering words of encouragement and even a few notes of music. You’ll also notice different sounds seldom-heard at most American elementary schools: Russian, Korean, Swahili and other languages being spoken.
An innovative program between Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Languages and Culture (CSLC) and Perley Fine Arts Academy, located a mile from Notre Dame’s campus, allows students to connect with Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs).
The Fulbright FLTA Program enables young international educators to refine their skills by serving primarily as teaching assistants in foreign language classes or, in some cases, as primary instructors at the university level. Notre Dame is one of only seven universities chosen from a highly-selective process from the Fulbright Program to be a host institution.
A close partnership between Notre Dame and the International Institute of Education (IIE), the nonprofit which administers the Fulbright Program, began in 2005, when both IIE and Brian Ó Conchubhair, associate professor of Irish Language and Literature, had the idea that the FLTAs needed their own orientation before beginning their academic lives in America. Prior to that, the FLTAs attended the Fulbright Scholars orientation but not all of the information applied to them.