TAMIU Hosts Middle-Eastern Educational Consultant
Posted: 4/19/12

TAMIU Hosts Middle Eastern
Educational Consultant

Amira Hachem and Dr. Gilberto D. Soto
Educational consultant Amira Hachem, left, visited with bilingual music education book author and TAMIU professor of music, Dr. Gilberto D. Soto.

A Lebanese educational consultant recently visited Texas A&M International University to gain insight on dual language curriculum from several university experts.

Amira Hachem leads and manages projects that focus on differentiation of instruction, dual language immersion programs, literacy education, and staff development for EduServ International based in Qatar. While at a bilingual education conference in Albuquerque, NM, Hachem caught a lecture on language acquisition music strategies in dual language by local author of bilingual music education books and TAMIU professor of music education/guitar, Dr. Gilberto D. Soto.

“Ms. Hachem’s visit to Laredo, specifically to TAMIU, was gaining knowledge of research and publications on dual language music extension activities for early childhood and elementary levels,” said Dr. Soto.

Hachem also visited local dual language and multilingual schools and interviewed several faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences department of fine and performing arts and the College of Education to gain insight on effective implementation of dual language programs within a bilingual region.

“My professional visit to Laredo, though short, has been extremely insightful and certainly beneficial. The various accountable conversations on bilingual education with Dr. Soto, his colleagues at TAMIU and his former students who currently teach at dual language schools, have confirmed my learning experiences in this field, but have also given me the chance to gain well-rounded knowledge of effective ELL/ESL teaching strategies,” Hachem said.

“I am now able to bring back to the schools I consult for in Qatar valuable teaching and learning on dual immersion programs. I have learned more than I could have ever expected,” Hachem noted.

Soto and Hachem both expressed excitement over the possibilities of future collaborations.

“It was an honor to have a professional coming from overseas to this area in order to find out more about using bilingual music activities in a dual language curriculum. We appreciate that Hachem chose TAMIU and Laredo as one of the regions to visit and I look forward to exchanging research and publications and at the same time, learn about the ESL/ELL methods used in countries such as Qatar and Lebanon,” Soto added.

“Overall, it was a fantastic experience and this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Dr. Soto’s exceptional support! I sincerely appreciate all the time and effort he put forward to have me visit dual language/multilingual schools in Laredo and connect with so many members of the community. I look forward to future collaborations with Dr. Soto, within the Middle East (namely Lebanon and/or Qatar) as there would be a lot to learn from his invaluable experience and knowledge in bilingual and music education,” Hachem said.

Soto holds a BA in Education from the Universidad Autónoma del Noreste, BA in Music from Abilene Christian University, and a M.M. and Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

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