Viviana Lopez Ruiz has received a 2014 Global Educator Award from VIF International Education. She teaches first-graders in a dual-language immersion program at Cooper Elementary School in Clayton.
Lopez Ruiz received the award based on a lesson plan that illustrated her dedication to promoting global awareness among her students.
“Many times the only country kids know is the one where they live,” she said. “Opening them up to the world requires asking them a lot of questions, using maps and globes to show them where my country is, where their country is and how those countries relate to different continents, and letting them explore music and artifacts from other parts of the world.”
As an award winner, Lopez Ruiz will receive a travel voucher to support her continued cultural learning.
Lopez Ruiz, who is from Columbia, has been a teacher for 10 years and is in her first year at Cooper. She incorporates global content into her classroom on a daily basis to encourage student engagement, and she regularly shares insights and tips on global learning with other educators.
While she has taught various grade levels, Lopez Ruiz has been teaching first-graders for the last five years and finds teaching language-immersion students especially rewarding.
“We had an international day at the school, and my students were able to communicate with all of the families and guests who came to the event, so they were able to see the importance of learning Spanish,” López Ruiz said. “It has been interesting living that experience with them, and seeing them really communicating in Spanish is exciting.”
In their 15th year, VIF’s Global Educator Awards recognize educators who demonstrate outstanding commitment to inspiring students, colleagues and community members to understand the world’s languages, its cultures and the diverse perspectives of all people.
“Viviana Lopez Ruiz exemplifies the best of what cultural exchange and language programs provide to students,” said David Young, chief executive of VIF. “Not only are students gaining the benefits of being literate in two languages, they are also developing greater cultural sensitivity under the guidance of a highly dedicated teacher.”