USIA and English Language Teacher Training Support in
Central/Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States
USIA maintains regional English language offices in Vienna, Austria and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. USIA also maintains an English language office in Moscow, Russia. Regional English Language Officer Richard Murphy, who is based in Vienna, covers the region from the Baltics down to Bulgaria and from the Czech Republic to Romania. Regional English Language Officer Bill Ancker, who is based in Tashkent, is responsible for USIA's programs in many of the the countries of the former Soviet Union. English Language Officer Johanna Kowitz, who is based in Moscow, handles USIA's programs in Russia.
Many of the USIS programs are managed and directed through the EFL Fellow Program and the English Teaching Fellow Program, which continue to place U.S. TEFL teacher trainers and classroom teachers in key educational institutions.
Five USIA English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Fellows are working in Russia: Elizabeth Lewis is at the Higher Economic School/Academy of National Economy in Moscow, Alice Murray is at St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, William Schettler is at Kazan State University/Perm State in Kazan and Perm, Jonathan Floss is at Samara State Economic Academy and International Market Institute in Togliatti, and Barbara Settles is at the Baikal Educational Center of Irkutsk State University in Krasnoyarsk. Other EFL Fellows in the region are: Joan Dean at the University of Sarajevo in Sarajevo, Bosnia; Elliott Swift at the University of Rijeka in Rijeka, Croatia; Mary Lou Moore at Vilnius Pedagogical University in Vilnius, Lithuania; Sherry Fetzer at the National Pedagogical Institute in Skopje, Macedonia; Andrew Gridinsky at the Miliary Academy in Skopje, Macedonia; and Catherine Marzyck at the Pedagogical Institute in Ohrid, Macedonia.
Of the eleven English Teaching Fellows (ETFs) in the region, two are in Russia and two are in Ukraine. Kevin McKelvey is at the Department of Education in Yekaterinburg, Russia and Jeffrey Marynow is at Pyatigorsk State Linguistics University in Pyatigorsk, Russia. Gene Edgerton is at the Ostroh Academy in Ostroh, Ukraine and Debra Friedman is at Vinnytsia Pedagogical Institute in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. Lisa Ponzetti is an ETF at the Kazak State University of World Languages in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Wendy Wish is at the Tallinn Technical University in Tallinn, Estonia. Olivia Tate is at the University of Osijek in Osijek, Croatia. Jeannine Lorenger is at Ostrava University in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Bradley Horn is at Miskolc University in Miskolc, Hungary. Jennifer Summerhays is at the University of Latvia in Riga, Latvia. Annie Polatsek is at the University of World Economy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Major Curriculum Reform Completed for Teaching English in Schools throughout Albania
As part of a general curriculum revision effort, a committee of Albanian English language teachers and administrators appointed by the Albanian Ministry of Education (MinEd) has been working together with two American English specialists, Lisa Morgan and Jan Huizinga, and USIS Vienna Regional English Language Officer (RELO) Richard Murphy to develop a design, a syllabus and actual lesson plans for nine years of English instruction. The curriculum is based upon American communicative methodology and geared to American culture and civilization. In June the group announced completion of their effort, achieved against great odds, and it now remains to pilot the new curriculum in the schools starting this fall, to write a teachers' guide for each grade and to develop training session to introduce teachers throughout the country to the new methodology. The new curriculum stresses interaction among the students by encouraging cooperative learning and the building of trust among class members. In the later grades techniques such as consensus forming and conflict resolution are taught as a basic part of communicating in English. By encouraging students to think while they learn, the curriculum develops skills that are essential to democracy building.
Annual Conference of Croatian English Teachers Held in Pula
From April 22 to 25 the Croatian Association of English Teachers (H.U.P.E) held its annual conference in the coastal city of Pula. USIS Zagreb was represented at the conference by Vienna-based Regional English Language Officer (RELO)Richard Murphy, and by English Teaching Fellow (ETF) Olivia Tate and EFL Fellow Elliott Swift. April 22-25,1999. Close to 400 English teachers from throughout Croatia attended conference sessions. Ms. Tate gave two presentations gave two presentations: one on the teacher-student relationship in the classroom and one on the use of poetry in teaching writing. Dr. Swift conducted a lively hands-on interactive demonstration of conflict resolution as a technique in English Language Teaching. And in his opening remarks to the convention, RELO Murphy described the favorable state of the profession and encouraged teachers to maintain their self-confidence and make good use of the myriad of tools and classroom techniques recently developed within the profession. As a whole the conference was a resounding success.
English Language Programs for Kosovar Refugees
Recently the USIS Vienna Regional English Language Officer for Eastern Europe, Richard Murphy, has become involved in a project to help teach English to Kosovar refugees. The goal of the project is fourfold: 1. To teach English to up to 10,000 refugees; 2. To train a large number of Kosovar English teachers in the latest EFL methodology; 3. To identify Kosovar professionals for possible exchange programs; 4. To help build an educational infrastructure for Kosovo's future. The program was initially developed for specific use in the Macedonian camps, but with the return of the refugees to Kosovo, it has had to be adapted to the rapidly changing scene.
June-July RELO Visit to Kazakhstan Culminates in Legal Registration of NATEK
Regional English Language Officer (RELO) William Ancker traveled to Kazakhstan in late June/early July to give presentations in Almaty and Astana (the new capital) to educators from the public and private sectors and to assist leaders of the National Association of Teachers of English in Kazakhstan (NATEK) during its semiannual planning meeting. Documentation of NATEK's work and purpose prepared at this meeting and presented to the Ministry of Justice were later approved, making NATEK now a registered NGO. In Astana, many of the fifty participants commented that it was the first time they had ever attended a professional training session by a native speaker of English. Plans for upcoming English language programming in Kazakhstan include a national conference sponsored by NATEK, arrival of an EFL fellow with responsibility for conducting workshops at the regional level as well as at the national in-service teacher training institute in Almaty, and arrival of a Fulbright lecturer who will teach English for Special Purposes and an American Studies course.
Eighth Online Distance Learning Workshop Held in Vienna
From April 16 to May 15 fifty-three teachers, teacher trainers and administrators of English language programs from eleven Central and Eastern European countries took part in the eighth in a series of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) on-line teacher-trainer workshops developed by the Regional English Language Office in Vienna. The course was directed towards teachers and teacher trainers already competent in e-mail and the internet. It had two focal points, research techniques in content areas such as American Studies and Civic Education on the Internet and the integration of themes from these areas into supplementary materials for the EFL classroom. The Vienna on-line workshops have provided a large group of EFL professionals throughout Central and Eastern Europe with the tools necessary for conducting topical research and applying this research to their teaching. With this seminar a total of two hundred and thirteen EFL Specialists have now completed both phases of the project and are now ready for advanced work. Typical of the responses to this month-long seminar from one Ukrainian participant: “Everything was useful….especially ‘diversity and civil rights in the U.S.’ where we were shown how all the wonderful activities and projects can be incorporated into a well-balanced, extremely well-prepared course, which uses all the advantages of both on-line learning, using the Internet as a great educational tool and classroom work.
Continuing Work with EFL Organizations in Georgia Yields Important Results
An international conference in March and national and regional conferences in June brought Georgian educators in contact with peers from around the world to discuss new methods and models in English language instruction. The efforts of two NGO’s, the English Teachers Association of Georgia (ETAG) in Tbilisi and the Atinati Association in Zugdidi supported by grants from E/AL and the Democracy Commission, demonstrated that despite past and present differences among political leaders, educators have a common desire to cooperate and share resources, to improve opportunities for their children, and, in the words of the ETAG director, “to be in touch with the rest of the world.” ETAG continues to be a reliable partner in English language programming in Georgia. The most important new project it has undertaken is providing professional expertise to the Ministry of Education’s nationwide testing program to revise the achievement tests in schools and university entrance exams. ETAG continues to attract new members among young teachers, who see the association as a source of new information and materials essential for their professional development. An important result of the Zugdidi conference was to show that despite the highly politicized situation in the area of conflict, professionals can gather for an event of mutual benefit. The success of this regional conference in Zugdidi has encouraged post to conduct more programming with people directly affected by regional conflicts.
Family Album, U.S.A. Television Series to be Broadcast Nationwide in Uzbekistan
In December, RELO Bill Ancker signed a two year contract with Uzbekistan television Channel 4, whose broadcast area reaches only half of Uzbekistan, to broadcast Family Album, USA (FAUSA). After only two broadcasts, however, the national television began receiving calls from disappointed viewers outside Channel 4's viewing area who had been alerted to the program's existence by the Uzbekistan Teachers of English Association (UZTEA) network. As a result, Uzbek and Russian language newspapers announced on February 4 that FAUSA will now be shown on Sunday mornings on Tashkent Channel 2, which broadcasts throughout the entire country. In conjunction with the broadcasts, the newspapers will publish a series of questions about the series. Viewers will mail their answers to the station, and those with correct answers will be awarded English teaching materials donated by USIS Tashkent. English Teaching Fellow Annie Polatsek and five members of UZTEA serve as consultants for the program and appear on the locally-produced segments which introduce each 30-minute episode. FAUSA is part of a cooperative agreement between USIA and Prentice Hall Regents to promote American English through video.
RELO Trains Former FLEX Program Participants to Teach English in Azerbaijan Provinces
USIS Azerbaijan combined the expertise of RELO Bill Ancker with the talent, skills and enthusiasm of 10 Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program graduates to create an English teaching program that reached 200 students throughout the provinces of Azerbaijan. The program served to provide not only invaluable teacher training and English language teaching opportunities but also a model of community commitment and civic responsibility in four targeted regions (Ganja, Quba, Lenkoran and Naxichivan). The three week program consisted of a one week workshop for the 10 FLEX graduates led by Ancker and two week courses taught by the graduates in the targeted regions. English teaching was an ideal venue for the FLEX alumni to share their experiences, English skills, understanding of civic education, and enthusiasm with young people in the provinces of Azerbaijan. The FLEX Program is a program that brings outstanding young people from the Newly Independent States to the United States for one year of study. Approximately 6,200 students are graduates of the FLEX Program.
USIS, British Council, and Ministry of Education Collaborate on In-Service Teacher Training Conference in Slovakia
In early February, approximately 100 EFL professionals from 13 Central and Eastern European countries attended a three day conference at the University of Matej Bel in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. The conference was organized by Jozef Medvecky of the University of Matej Bel, a former USIA grantee and Salzburg Seminar alumnus, and Phil Dexter of the British Council. RELO Richard Murphy delivered opening remarks to the conference, and Juraj Mistina, chair of the Slovak Association of English Teachers, gave the keynote address. Forty-five papers were presented at the conference, and one of the primary topics addressed was that the Slovak government should provide incentives and guidelines for in-service training programs. Along these lines, the attendance of the Minister of Education at the conference was very encouraging to participants. Funding for the conference came from USIS, the British Council, the Slovak Ministry of Education, and the Slovak Association of English Teachers.
Russian Civil Servants Benefit from EFL Workshop in Kaluga
On January 27 - 28, English Language Officer Johanna Kowitz, EFL Fellow Betsy Lewis, and other USIS staff led the third annual workshop on "Innovations in TEFL" at the Northwest Academy of Civil Service (Russian State Service Academy) in Kaluga, Russia. Participants included approximately 30 teachers from the Academy and other local English teachers invited by the Academy. The Academy, which fully funded the workshop and provided transportation for the USIS staff, offers both full and part-time training and refresher courses for employees of the local and federal government offices of the Kaluga region. Although Kaluga, a large city with a population of approximately 350,000, is only about 110 miles southwest of Moscow, several participants in the workshop said it was their first time ever to talk with a native speaker of American English. In conjunction with the program, Lewis gave a radio interview (in Russian), while Kowitz appeared on the local television evening news discussing USIA materials and EFL methodology.
Ministry of Education Panel Approves New English Textbook Developed by Lithuanian Educators and English Language Specialist
English Language Specialist Janet Orr recently traveled to Lithuania to assist a team of Lithuanian textbook writers in completing a new English textbook to be used in classrooms throughout the country. The textbook project was spearheaded by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and USIS Vilnius. Orr has been working on the project with the textbook-writing team, communicating with them by e-mail. She has assisted the team in ensuring that up-to-date methods and American content are included in the textbook. On November 18, 1998 the MOE panel gave its final approval to the textbook. The new textbook will be printed this summer, and will be in use throughout Lithuania during the 1999-2000 academic year.
Teachers' Association Conference Receives National Attention in Uzbekistan
The Uzbekistan Teachers of English Association (UZTEA) hosted its second national conference in Tashkent at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy (UWED) from November 12- 14, 1998. English Language Specialist Patricia Sullivan joined 40 other local and international speakers for the event entitled "Meeting the Challenges of ELT in the New Uzbekistan." The conference was largest gathering of English language teachers in Uzbekistan in recent memory, with 300 participants in attendance. At the opening ceremony, the UWED rector said, "Uzbekistan's success as a new member of important world organizations depends on having trained specialists with good English skills." By the end of the conference, membership in UZTEA, which was founded in late 1996, had grown by 30%; UZTEA had a permanent homepage on the worldwide web; UWED had offered on-campus office space to UZTEA; and television coverage of the event had been shown in three languages, throughout the entire country. In addition, two new branches of UZTEA have formed in the cities Nukus and Termez.
First English Teachers Association Formed in Kazakstan
USIS Almaty recently sponsored a special four-day conference to organize the National Association of Teachers of English in Kazakstan (NATEK), the first national teachers association in the country. The conference gathered 45 representatives from 24 regional English teaching associations to write the by-laws for NATEK and to elect the NATEK board of directors and president, an alumnus of the USIA 1995-96 Contemporary Issues program. RELO Bill Ancker (E/AL) helped to author the by-laws and to organize the elections, which gave the Kazakh educators practical experience on how to form an NGO and how democracy works. Ancker, along with English Teaching Fellow Lisa Ponzetti and a British Council representative, facilitated the discussions. Through participation in this association, English teachers will establish working contacts with other English educators throughout the world.
Russia Makes Good Use of EFL Fellow and English Teaching Fellow Programs
For the 1998-99 year, Russia requested two English Teaching Fellows (ETFs) and a record five English as a Foreign Language Fellows (EFLFs). The ETFs, whose primary responsibility is classroom teaching, will be based in Yekaterinburg and at the Linguistic University in Pyatigorsk. The EFLFs, all of whom are being placed at Presidential Management Training Initiative (PMTI) institutions, will organize training programs in English and Business English for instructors at these institutions. They will also work on curriculum and materials development, and collaborate with British Council colleagues on assessment measures. In addition they will travel to neighboring regions as consultants to PMTI institutions. The host institutions for the five EFL Fellows are: in Moscow— Higher School of Economics, the American Center in Moscow, and the Regional Teacher Retraining Center.; in St. Petersburg— the St. Petersburg State Univ of Economics; in Irkutsk— the Baikal Educational Center at Irkutsk State University; in Samara— the International Academy of Business and Banking, the International Market Institute, and the Samara State Economic Academy; and in Kazan/Perm— Kazan State University, Perm State University, and the Bashkir Consortium of Education Institution.
EL Specialists Assist in English Curriculum Reforms in Albania
EL specialist Jann Huizenga and EFL Fellow coordinator Lisa Morgan provided professional guidance and assistance in rewriting the Albanian national English language curriculum; and in introducing such techniques as argumentation and negotiation, consensus building, and conflict resolution in class discussions. With support from RELO Richard Murphy and USIS Tirana, the specialists helped write and select the materials for Albanian elementary and secondary English classes, ensuring the inclusion of American studies topics and the accuracy of such information. The curriculum reform project is a perfect opportunity for USIS Tirana to assist Albania. Huizenga will continue working via e-mail with the Ministry on this project until June 1999.
Internet Workshops Prove Popular with English Educators in Central and Eastern Europe
RELO Richard Murphy recently organized three online workshops for English language educators and administrators in Central and Eastern Europe. The workshops, which focused on assisting EFL teachers in accessing materials and information on civic education and American Studies themes and on illustrating different ways that teachers can integrate these materials into their English classes, were taught by U.S. specialists in computer instruction and faculty development. A course that is currently underway proved so popular that Murphy had to turn away participants. He plans to repeat it for other participants at a later date.
ET Specialist Advises on Distance Learning Project in Lithuania
ET Specialist Sherry Preisi recently conducted a two-week English for specific purposes (ESP) Distance Learning program for USIS Vilnius. Her program consisted of touring network and distance education centers and consulting with ESP distance education professionals and officials involved in educational reform. She also gave a series of workshops on implementing distance education initiatives. Those in attendance included textbook writers, software engineers, and those working on the ESP Distance Education project. USIS requested that Ms. Preisi assist the Lithuanian ESP instructor's team in preparing on-line materials on such topics as business English, integration into international organizations, and the language of official documents which will be used by civil servants, government officials, business leaders, and academics.
Reaching English Teachers in Serbia and Montenegro
USIS and the Fund for an Open Society Yugoslavia co-funded a six-week visit by American English teaching specialist Kathryn Koop of the New School for Social Research in New York. Koop instructed teachers on methodology, the use of new technologies, and lesson plan development. She coached young business professionals and graduate students in English communication skills, an important component of future business prospects and privatization efforts. Koop also met with representatives from A.I.D. and a local NGO to discuss English teaching in the context of developing democratic institutions. Her workshops reached audiences in Vojvodina, Nis, and Podgorica, and resulted in plans to form an independent association of English teachers.
Public, Private, and NGO Teachers Learn about Options in Education
The English Teachers Association of Georgia (ETAG) held its third international conference May 22-24 in Tbilisi. The conference drew 200 teachers from public schools, private academies, and non-governmental organizations. ETAG members are intent on replacing Russian with English as the regional lingua franca. Conference presentations by Regional English Language Officer Bill Ancker, Chris Sauer of Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa, and underlined to the conference participants a variety of options in language education today. Costs for the speakers were shared by USIS, the British Council, ETAG, and TESOL International.
Expanding the Availability of American English Materials in Russia
Because of the rising popularity of American publications among the current generation of students, USIS Moscow has continued to focus the attention of English language professionals on American materials. During the annual convention of the National Association of Teachers of English (June 9-11), USIS helped sponsor consultations by Gary Anderson, a representative of Cambridge University Press, which has an American line of materials for classroom teaching and teacher development. Anderson met with the organization's executive board to discuss ways to expand the availability of these materials throughout Russia.
Teacher Training in the Sverdlovsk Region
ELO Tom Kral and English Teaching Fellow Linda Johnson conducted three days of training for 25 teachers in the Sverdlovsk region May 27-30. They placed particular emphasis on American multiculturalism and current EFL methodology. USIS Yekaterinburg coordinated the training, which was sponsored by the Sverdlovsk Department of Education and hosted by Krasnoufimsk College.
USIS-Peace Corps Collaboration Grows in Russia
USIS Moscow and the Peace Corps have found more ways to expand their collaborative efforts to assist English language professionals in Russia. Joint programs were held in Yekaterinburg on June 1, in Pskov on May 18-20, in Rostov-on-Don on May 11-14, and in Lipetsk on April 28-29. English Language Officer Tom Kral joined PC volunteers as a workshop leader in Rostov-on-Don, and he served as the single resource speaker at the other venues. In Pskov, the local television station interviewed Kral on language and culture, as well as aspects of Russian-American relations. USIS-PC programs support efforts by Russian English teachers to work together in democratically-oriented professional organizations.
Using Drama as a Teaching Tool in Hungary -- U.S. Content And Methodology, Hungarian Cost-Sharing
As the eight-year EFL program in Hungary closed, the EFL Fellows, RELO Vienna Richard Murphy, and the United States Information Service (USIS) post in Budapest combined to establish creative, low-cost ways to continue EFL contributions. One was a demonstration of the use of drama as a teaching tool. Murphy worked with a Hungarian NGO to organize five workshops on adapting American short stories to the stage, followed by U.S. participation in a three-day national drama festival in April. Media coverage of the festival credited USIS with the presentation of material that required participants to use their imagination and basic skills, and noted that, "The teachers learn to express themselves more freely, which .... will improve their ability to relate to their students." One hundred and sixty teachers participated. Local cost sharing included teacher salaries and transportation, project management by the participating NGO, and room and board for teachers and students from the National Drama Festival.
SPELTA Conference Focuses on American Studies
“American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach” was the theme of the spring conference of the St. Petersburg English Language Teachers Association (SPELTA). Keynote speaker was Philip Hosay, professor of history at New York University. USIS Moscow ELO Tom Kral and Fulbright Professor David McFadden gave plenaries and later joined English Teaching Fellow Ann McAllen and Fulbrighter Ingrid Bengis for sessions dealing with American studies in the curriculum and classroom.
Joint American-Russian Research on Communication Styles
Voronezh, a city south of Moscow, is home to one of the eight regional chapters of the National Association of Teachers of English in Russia. This very active regional chapter maintains a sister-affiliate relationship with the New York state TESOL organization. Members of both groups are currently involved in joint research on cross-cultural communication. Their research findings will be incorporated into a publication on Russian and American communication styles for use in English programs at schools of management and business throughout Russia. The Voronezh chapter also works with USIA to bring American expertise to EFL teachers in the area. On April 23 and 24, English Language Officer Tom Kral presented a program on the teaching of receptive skills, and in January EFL Fellow Elizabeth Lewis presented a program on the teaching of writing.
EFL Fellows Help Lead American Studies Seminar in Hungary
EFL Fellows Barbara Settles, Elliott Swift, and Sherry Fetzer led methodology workshops during a recent two-week seminar in American studies attended by 33 Hungarian high school English teachers. The seminar was conducted by English language specialist Ed Ifkovic. The purpose was to provide participants with up-to-date information and materials on American life and culture, and to supplement textbooks that provide very little American cultural content. The event was held in Balatonalmadi in western Hungary. Local funding totaled $1,700.
Slovak EFL Fellow Program Reaches Key Audiences
The recently-completed EFL Fellow program in Slovakia counts among its many successes its work with students from the nation's parliament, military, police, and judiciary systems. This work will continue under the leadership of 100 Slovak teachers who were trained to carry on the legacy. The five-year program reached up to 1,000 teachers a year through courses and conferences organized by Fellows who were posted at teacher training institutions in each of the four main regions of the country. USIS Bratislava, in cooperation with Regional English Language Officer Dick Murphy, will strive to sustain certain initiatives of the program as a symbol of support for Slovakia's English language endeavors.
American Studies in Lithuania
USIA co-sponsored this year's American Studies Conference in Lithuania with two organizations: the Lithuanian Association for North American Studies and the Lithuanian Association of English Language Teachers and Lecturers. The annual event was held March 27 and 28 at the Vilnius Pedagogical University. Ten Americans, the most ever, were invited to make presentations on topics related to the conference theme of "Language, Culture, and Democracy: American, English, and Lithuanian Aspects." The keynote speaker was Karal Ann Marling, a lecturer at the University of Minnesota and currently resident at the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. Her speech explored how the development of theme parks in the United States -- Disneyland, in particular -- reflects America's ideas of its culture and democracy. Other American speakers included Eric Sandeen, director of the American Studies program at the University of Wyoming; Fulbright grantees Stephen Warner, David Boe, and Kim Reid; English Teaching Fellow Jonathan Floss; USIA Public Affairs Officer in Vilnius, Lisa Helling; and Cultural Affairs Officer in Warsaw, Kate Delaney.
USIA and Peace Corps Volunteers Team Up
More than 60 English teachers are serving this year as United States Peace Corps volunteers in western Russia. USIA has teamed up with these volunteers to demonstrate American teaching methods to Russian teachers of English. USIA English Language Officer Tom Kral conducted training workshops at four Peace Corps sites this year, in the cities of Petrozavodsk (April 1-3), Penza (March 24-26), Astrakhan (March 10-12), and Saratov (February 24-26). Each workshop attracted more than 100 teachers and administrators. Some traveled hours to get to the venues. The workshops provided many of the participants with their first opportunity to talk with a native speaker of English.
Citizenship and the Environment
Young people in Kazakhstan represent the first generation to learn -- at an early age -- about their rights and responsibilities as citizens of a democracy. One of those rights is to organize to protect the environment. Every day, Kazakh citizens are learning more about the nation's environmental problems and what they can do to relieve them, and teachers of English are playing an important part in this campaign. "How to Create an English/Environmental Summer Camp for Children" was the theme of a national workshop for English teachers sponsored by USIA and held in conjunction with Earth Day 1998 at the Central Institute for Teacher Professional Development in Almaty. Designed by USIA EFL Fellow Crystal House, who is working this year at the institute, the March 9-13 workshop attracted 23 English teachers from eight districts, some of whom traveled two days by train to get to the event. Several of these teachers are now working with U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to set up environmental camps that will be conducted in English. Nine camps are planned for the summer and are expected to host 40 to 200 children each.
Association Membership Soars
In Uzbekistan, the Uzbekistan Teachers of English Association (UZTEA) has grown from just 25 members to 500 in a little more than a year. UZTEA is an independent organization with regional branches and a democratically-elected executive board. In November, while USIA personnel in Uzbekistan were busy facilitating the visit of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, the group assumed much of the responsibility for organizing the visit of American English language specialist Ted Rodgers of the University of Hawaii. Rodgers gave lectures and workshops to 400 educators and administrators from all levels of schools, throughout the country, as well as from the Uzbek State University of World Languages, the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, and the Banking and Finance Academy of the Uzbek association of banks.
Telecommunications Networks Create a Network of Professionals in C/EE
USIA's English language activities in Central and Eastern Europe have been focusing on ways to create a solid network of EFL professionals who will soon take responsibility for their future development. These efforts are largely based on the linkages that can be formed through computer and telecommunications technology. Since 1997, a number of successful online distance education workshops have been held to begin the process. Under the direction of RELO Richard Murphy, these electronic courses have created a virtual classroom for dozens of EFL professionals from throughout the region.
- Internationally-recognized CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) expert Deborah Healey of Oregon State University, Corvallis, was the instructor for a three-week online workshop that took place from October 27 to November 17. Dr. Healey coached fifty-five teachers, teacher trainers, and administrators in 11 Central and East European countries on how to use email and the Internet for the classroom and for communicating with each other. Participants had free use of computers and online time for the duration of the workshop.
- In Slovakia, 100 teachers and teacher trainers have taken part in electronic workshops that began in October. Josef Medvecky, an experienced trainer at the Metodicke Centrum in Banska Bystrica, was the instructor. Participants had little prior training in the use of multimedia. They were shown how to use CD-ROMs in the classroom, as well as how to use email and the Internet for teaching, research, and professional networking. Dr. Medvecky donated his time and expertise for this project, and participants had free use of computers. This in-service workshop in Slovakia is now serving as a model for the development of similar online projects in the region.
Return to the USIA and TEFL Training Activities Worldwide page