The participation in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) course at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington State, USA, is the form of award for engagement, students’ progress in English, stimulating the activities of parents and local communities - in other words, for the effective implementation of financial projects under the “English Teaching” program.
In 2014, Magdalena Drzewiecka and Adrian Golis, two beneficiaries of the Small Grants 2012 competition who now participate in the “Ambassadors of English Teaching program” path, took part in an intense several weeks long training for teachers of English. “That was my first visit to the USA and I had hoped to have unforgettable holidays. And I was right,” says Adrian.
Magda and Adrian participated in a course that prepares teachers to teaching English as a foreign language and covers all important methodological issues that are useful at everyday work with students. It is very practical in form and based on the learning by doing principle. The course participants not only watch live lessons conducted by experienced teachers but first of all plan their own classes and improve their teaching practice.
The real challenge is conducting classes at the language camp for foreigners from all over the world who came to learn English in the USA. The more so, that in a group of teachers who jointly prepared the classes, apart from native Americans there were also representatives of Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. “English Camp, where I had an opportunity to teach and contact student–immigrants from all over the world was the biggest advantage of the TESOL course,” says Magda. “My students (14 and 15 years old) were learning how to use a computer and work in PowerPoint. Many of them had not had a contact with the computer so it was a huge challenge for them (and us). I have been still in touch with some of them via Facebook. Some also started writing with students from Poland which allows them to practice their English and learn the culture of our country”.
After completing the four weeks of intensive classes, Magda and Adrian obtained valuable certificates of international teacher. They worked hard improving their teaching skills but also learned many faces of America.
“Although the course was very intense, we tried to spend every free moment “experiencing America”. In the afternoons and at the weekends we would turn into tourists and sightsee Spokane. We also dared to make forays into the field: we visited all the places around Spokane, even went to Seattle and Canada. After we had completed the course, we spent also several days in New York, which really impressed us,” said Adrian. The participants of the course will have a lot of memories from their stay in the USA, but first of all they will be able to improve the level of English teaching in their small homelands.
The cooperation between “English Teaching” program with Gonzaga University has been going on since 2008. In July 2008 the first training and methodological camp for 15 English teachers participating in the “English Teaching” program took place in Kraków. Supervised by the lecturers from Gonzaga University and St. Louis University, they analyzed Polish methods of teaching English and compared them with the methods applied in the United States under the “English as a Second Language” (ESL) program. In the years 2009-2014, a total of 14 teachers had the opportunity to participate in the training course organized by Gonzaga University under “TESOL Summer Institute” program. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) course gives an opportunity to improve English teaching qualifications, learn new teaching methods and meet interesting people from various countries and cultures. All costs of the participants’ stay in the USA (a visa, tickets, a Gonzaga University tuition fee, an insurance policy and per-diem allowances) are covered under the “English Teaching” program.
More information can be found at: www.gonzaga.edu/summerinstitute