Montana State University’s Office of International Programs recently hosted 19 instructors from around the world as part of the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program sponsored by the US State Department. These master teachers spent six weeks in Bozeman for professional training to gain skills in creating engaging and student-centered learning environments, develop themselves as teacher-leaders, and implement instructional technology. INTERLINK International Institutes had the privilege of working with these exceptional instructors to share expertise on project-based, communicative language learning in an online setting and experiential learning through workshops, English classes, and teacher observation and exchange. INTERLINK provided a hands-on English course, which modeled the principles of student-centered learning, as well as provided many interactive activities which could be used by the teachers upon returning to their home countries.
One fellow encapsulated the passion and care that INTERLINK instructors bring to the learning process by writing that the instructor, “inspired me a lot to keep me loving this profession.” In addition, the fellows engaged in rich discussions of visible and invisible culture, presented on these aspects, and developed a deeper understanding of American culture.
INTERLINK instructor Kristina Allison was excited to observe the evolution of the TEA fellows in her course. She noted, “Participants in the TEA program reported progress and growth in so many areas: classroom management, lesson planning, teacher/student interaction, speaking skills, adding energy to class, student engagement, use of peer feedback, and creation of a student-centered learning experience. From the teacher’s perspective, I can sincerely say that each and every participant gained confidence throughout the program and left with specific and concrete ways to enhance their teaching and develop as a professional.”
TEA Fellows had the opportunity to observe several days of INTERLINK’s online classes, which demonstrated how instructors implement instructional technology, project-based pedagogy, peer review, and the experiential learning cycle. INTERLINK instructors and TEA fellows met before and after observations to discuss their teaching contexts and challenges and share ideas. The fellows commented on the many skills they gained, including bettering their own English through improved pronunciation and vocabulary, learning to give presentations confidently, being creative and improvising engaging games, being more organized in class, and delivering more effective and interesting lessons.