Grant Brings Pakistani English Teachers to UN | International programs

The UN International Program’s Afghanistan Studies Center hosted 48 Pakistani English teachers for a six-week teacher training and cultural exchange program. Participants from five different provinces of Pakistan came to Omaha in two separate cohorts running from spring to summer 2022. Participants were eager and receptive to all they experienced. Pakistan Excellence and Achievement (TEA) English Language Teacher Exchange is funded by the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and in partnership with Vision Building Future (VBF), a Pakistani NGO. The program promotes the development of English language skills, knowledge of current English Language Teaching (ELT) pedagogies, exposure to technology related to teaching and teaching management systems, and teaching leadership skills. These professional development opportunities were realized through a mix of classroom and on-the-job experiences.

Intensive UN Language Program (ILUNO) English as a Second Language specialists have led the way with engaging classroom experiences. Weekly sessions on American language and culture provided time to compare and contrast themes of American and Pakistani culture. Visits to schools around Metro Omaha provided a hands-on look at a variety of methods and technologies that were introduced. Participants were particularly interested in learning how to incorporate more student-centered and task-based activities into their classrooms. Although their educational background was different, the participants believed that this experience could broaden their vision and help them make effective changes in their respective contexts. Engaging media sources such as TED Talks, NPR and VOA were used to facilitate discussion on topics related to teaching methods as well as cultural traditions and American holidays. Participants particularly appreciated the topics on race and ethnicity. Additionally, participants developed pronunciation, speaking fluency, and grammar through small group discussions and feedback from mentors. Weekly academic discussions included strategies for teaching listening and speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and critical thinking skills.

An important highlight of the program is that participants share with each other in a supportive community of practice that continues even after they return to their home country. One of the goals of the program is to encourage long-term professional mentorship opportunities with UN instructors and professors as well as among the cohorts themselves. Each participant goes home with a unique leadership plan to implement in their local schools and/or community. Leadership plan topics included: the importance of e-learning and technology, positive reinforcement in the classroom, caring for the environment, random acts of kindness, empowering women through education , summer and winter vacation camps for children and professional development workshops.

Additionally, American home viewing, weekly cultural tours, and trips to South Dakota, western Nebraska, and Washington DC provided opportunities to engage in authentic communication with native English speakers and reinforced the content covered. in sessions.

Those involved in the grant project expressed their experience in their own words, read on for some selected excerpts:

“The teachers provide a very comfortable atmosphere. They are pleasant and always helpful. I learned many new concepts to improve my teaching practices.

-Misbah Batool, tea participant

“Visiting the local schools was a great experience! As a teacher, I was greatly inspired by the teaching method and the academic atmosphere.

-TEA participant Rahimullah Kakar

“It was a great experience to interact with people from different cultures and from different parts of the world. It’s great to learn their perspective on life.

-TEA participant Zaib un Nisa

“Working with TEA Pakistan groups has been a wonderful experience for me personally. Participants are so eager to learn new ideas and teaching methods. They are passionate about improving their schools and making a difference in the lives of their students. They were so kind and kind. A real pleasure to work with!”

-Jessica Anderson, ESL Specialist, UNO Intensive English

“It was a privilege and a pleasure to work with the first two cohorts of the TEA program. While here in the United States, the participants had boundless energy and enthusiasm to learn everything. They learned about American culture – from Easter egg hunts to St. Patrick’s Day traditions to conversations about race and identity. I learned about Pakistani culture – from Resolution Day to Pakistani hospitality to its diverse culture and delicious food!

-Anne West-Leclou, ESL Specialist, UNO Intensive English

To learn more about the UN Center for Afghanistan Studies and the ILUNO English Language Program, visit world.unomaha.edu.