Education professor receives distinguished grant

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 8.10.59 PMAs someone who has educated people in a variety of places across the globe, Cecile Arquette will soon add Chile to her list, as a result of her upcoming Fulbright Scholar award.

Arquette, an associate professor of Teacher Education, received the grant to teach English as a foreign language to undergraduates at Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso. The Fulbright program, established nearly 70 years ago, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in hopes of providing participants the opportunity to study, teach, learn and exchange ideas between cultures.

The grant allows Arquette to spend five months in Chile, from March to July of 2014, where she will teach English at the university and provide workshops for high school English teachers. She said she also wants to establish professional and social ties between Valparaiso and Bradley.

“I want to use methods [to teach the students English] that I use for my English Language Learners (ELL) Methods class now,” she said. “My plan is to teach in English, all the time. This will provide the students the opportunity to use English, because it is not spoken often in Chile.”

Bradley traditionally offers sabbatical for professors every seven years, although it is not automatically granted each time; those who wish to have sabbatical must submit an application to show how they will use the time to increase their knowledge for the benefit of their students and university. Arquette’s granted sabbatical will allow her to go to Chile.

“Professors have an opportunity to rest, recharge or do some research [with sabbaticals],” Arquette said. “Without the support of the university I would not be able to do this.”

Even though she can speak Spanish and has taught in New Mexico at an elementary school three miles from the Mexican border, Arquette said she is taking Spanish 101 at Bradley to prepare for her time in Chile.

“I’m really interested in improving my Spanish grammar,” she said. “I work full time and it’s hard trying to squeeze [Spanish] class in there, but it’s excellent that I can take classes [at Bradley]. It’s my seventh year here and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Arquette’s husband, who also has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, and 12-year-old son will be joining her in Chile. She said her family is in the process of looking for both an academic school and a ballet school for her son to attend while in Chile.

As a member of the U.S. Peace Corps in the 1980s, Arquette is accustomed to traveling. She was a volunteer in Cameroon, and spent time as a trainer of new volunteers in Senegal, Cameroon and the former Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Additionally, she recently taught Bradley students during J-Term in Costa Rica, and she said she encourages students interested in studying abroad to look into this trip. The next trip is planned for January 2015.

Arquette said she’s most excited about traveling once again.

“I don’t even know how to express how exciting it is to travel,” she said. “I’ve heard the food is supposed to be great in Chile.  It’s up to me to find a place to live, and I love the idea of exploring and bargaining at markets, getting to know people and develop friendships … It’s all part of the experience to try different things and that’s what’s important about having the chance to live in another country for an extended period of time.”