U.S. Embassy Conducts Regional English Language Office (RELO) Training

The Public Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy Suva is hosting Regional English Language Officer Harold Samuels in Fiji for several days. While here he conducted a workshop for English language teachers entitled, ‘Getting off to a Good Start: Ice Breaker and Warm Activities Workshop,’ which explored attention activities in classroom development and shared digital teaching resources to improve English language learning.

Mr. Samuels said that professional development is essential for all teachers and by sharpening their teaching skills, they will be able to deliver the highest quality lessons possible. “Hopefully the teachers will use some of the materials and resources I have shown them. Many of them are freely available on our website: www.AmericanEnglish.state.gov”.

Fiji National University Associate Dean of Research and Head of Delegation for Communication, Language & Literature Dr. Zakia Ali-Chand, shared her reflection on the workshop, “We revise our curriculum from time to time so when it is revised, the ice-breaker session from this workshop would be incorporated in every lesson plan. Often when we start the lesson, we recap the previous lesson and forget about icebreakers. In addition, the focus on fluency and accuracy can also be a good debate topic and in our linguistic courses.”

Another participant from Suva Christian Community High School Ms. Aliti Tiqarea said, “As an English teacher I believe that with accuracy, fluency will naturally flow in. It has been a great workshop listening to different views from other participants and the RELO.”

Samuels highlighted that “English is a twenty-first century skill that almost everyone needs today. It is as important as knowing how to use a computer. We also need to promote other kinds of skills like critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. This is the focus of my work.” RELO will be back next year for a follow-up visit.

English language competence brings greater opportunities in business and education as well as bringing closer ties with the United States, especially through Department of State academic and professional exchange programs. Samuels also shared information about a number of opportunities and programs for increasing English language capabilities in Fiji and the region.

English Language Fellow Program (Fellow)
The English Language Fellow Program provides American professional expertise in teaching English as a foreign or additional language by sending qualified American educators on ten-month fellowships to overseas academic institutions. Fellows work to enhance English teaching capacity, and to provide educators and learners with better academic, social and professional English language communication skills. Institutions interested in hosting a Fellow should contact the RELO office to discuss conditions, dates and objectives.

The English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program
The English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programs place Fulbright specialists in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. In South Africa placements are at high school and university level.

English Language Specialists (ELSpecs)
The English Language Specialist Program recruits United States specialists in the areas of English language teaching and Applied Linguistics for short term (two weeks to five months) assignments abroad. These assignments may include curriculum projects, teacher training seminars, textbook development, English for Specific Purposes, and program evaluation. Please contact the RELO office if your institution or association is interested in organizing an English Language Specialist program.

E-Teacher Scholarship Program
Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Office of English Language Programs offers seven innovative, on-line, graduate level classes to English teaching professionals abroad through two different U.S. universities. The E-Teacher Scholarship Program explores seven major areas of the academic specialty of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL):
 Critical Thinking in the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Curriculum
 Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL)
 English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Best Practices
 English as a Foreign Language Assessment
 Methods Course I: Survey of Best Practices in TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages)
 Methods Course II: Developing EFL Literacy through Project-Based Learning

Only the U.S. Embassy can nominate participants for the E-Teacher Scholarships.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS)
MOOCS for language learners help pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced level learners improve their English skills in five major career fields. Each MOOC is free, self-paced and five weeks long.
 English for Media Literacy
 English for STEM fields
 English for Business and Entrepreneurship
 English for Journalism
 English for Career Development

Upcoming MOOC
Content-based Instruction MOOC – this MOOC is provided by World Learning, as part of the American English (AE) E-Teacher Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of  State and administered by FHI 360.
Participants who earn 70% or higher will receive a digital badge as a mark of completion. Watch out for the registration link, course description and updates at https://www.aeeteacher.org/MOOC

The courses introduce the most recent English language teaching methods and techniques, offer the opportunity to engage in an innovative distance-learning program that employs the latest in modern technology, and provide direct access to U.S. experts with whom participants might not normally have the opportunity to interact. If you have any questions about these English language programs please contact the U.S. embassy at arcsuva@state.gov.

For more information please contact: Regional Public Affairs Office at (679) 331-4466