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Silva Presents in South Pacific

Dr. Cecilia Silva

Cecilia Silva traveled for 22 hours and more than 7,000 miles to present at two conferences in in July – the Micronesia Teachers Education Conference in Yap State and the 30th Pacific Educational Conference in the Republic of Palau.

Silva, who retired as a College of Education professor and now works as associated faculty, said she learned as much as she shared, including the fact that it took some teachers seven days to travel to the conferences by boat.

“I was so impressed by the teachers and their focus on preparing to teach in very diverse settings,” Silva said. “The area is very diverse linguistically—more than 20 languages are spoken.”

At both conferences, Silva presented on her work with Molly Weinburgh, Kathy Smith and the Andrews Institute for Mathematics & Science Education. The Andrews Institute hosts a yearly Math, Science and Language Summer School for Fort Worth ISD students who are English Language Learners. The three-week program helps students learn science and math content and the associated academic language.

Silva said the area focused on preserving culture and local languages. The conference in Micronesia helped students understand the navigational history of the Polynesian people. Her presentation focused mainly on teaching erosion and she discovered that it was a large concern for the region.

“I developed a new understanding for the sense of urgency communities in the South Pacific have in regard to environmental threats caused by global warming,” she said. “Many programs involve students in community action.”