English Language Fellow Program
Moscow-based Fellow Conducts Workshop at the American Center
EL Fellow John Kotnarowski conducted a two-hour workshop for a group of EL instructors and learners designed to cover the basics of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and offer some activity ideas. The workshop was loosely structured with a short, presenter-centered lecture on the principles of CLT, followed by an open discussion that allowed the audience members to share the experiences using CLT in the Russian context. During the second half of the workshop, the presenter and participants engaged in some fun, communicative activities and shared ideas for other, similar activities.
Moscow-based Fellow Delivers a Plenary at Bauman Technical University
As the EL Fellow in Moscow, John Kotnarowski was asked to prepare a short talk on one aspect of academic writing as part of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University International Conference entitled “Current Problems of Linguistics & FLT, Ways and Methods of their Solution” in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Fundamental Sciences Department and 10th Anniversary of the Linguistics Department of BMSTU. He delivered a 20 minute plenary talk that defined the concepts of coherence and cohesion (as well as their importance in academic writing) and outlined several classroom strategies designed to help students better understand these complex ideas.
Moscow-based Fellow conducts Workshop at the ESP conference
John Kotnarowski, English Language Fellow for Moscow, Russia and the surrounding region, was asked to give a workshop on a topic related to academic writing as part of a conference hosted by his host institution (NUST MISiS). The conference was entitled, “ESP/EAP/EMI in the Context of Higher Education Internationalization”. Mr. Kotnarowski delivered an intense 45 minute workshop designed to accomplish three objectives including helping participants distinguish between the concepts of “coherence” and “cohesion”, promoting best practices for teaching students about cohesion in academic writing (including using a variety of pronouns, lexical signposting and parallel structure) and demonstrating how to make teaching writing a communicative endeavor.
Moscow-based Fellow Introduces American Center Audience to the Wild West
John Kotnarowski, EL Fellow for Moscow, Russia and the surrounding region, delivered an interactive lecture on the history and culture of the American “Wild West” intended to raise participant awareness about the role that this place and time played in helping to define American culture and society. In addition to discussions on Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Frontier Thesis”, Frontier life and culture and the disenfranchisement of Native American tribes, the presentation encouraged participants to look for similar time periods/events in Russian culture and history. Finally, there were several vocabulary exercises where participants were asked to “decipher” sayings and expressions from the Old West.
Moscow ELO: Teacher 2 Teacher Workshop “EAP Essay Introductions & Conclusions”
On November 5, Moscow-based English Language Fellow John Kotnarowski conducted his second workshop at the American Center in Moscow. As part of the continuing “Teacher 2 Teacher” series, this workshop led participants through a discussion on best practices for writing (and teaching how to write) introductions and conclusions for academic essays in English. Topics covered included: creating “hooks”, writing thesis statements, restating thesis statements and effective ways to end a conclusion.
Moscow-based English Language Fellow Hosts Two-Day Workshops on Best Practices
The English Language Office and Moscow’s newest English Language Fellow John Kotnarowski teamed up to offer a two-day series of workshops on best practices in ELT for 22 Fulbright ETAs. The workshops included topics related to classroom management, using social media in the classroom, effective lesson planning, teaching the four skills in the ELL classroom, and how to incorporate and share resources from the Office of English Language Programs. The Fulbright ETAs were broken into regional groups and each was assigned to one of Russia’s five English Language Fellows to act as a mentor throughout their time here.
English Language Fellow Delivers Opening at NSTU City Conference
On November 13, Jennifer Depto, Sr. English Language Fellow was invited to deliver an opening speech for the annual NSTU City Conference. This year’s theme addressed Problems in Modern Society & Ways of Solving Them. The conference provides students, undergraduate to graduate with the opportunity to research and deliver presentations on political, environmental, economic and social issues that societies and our planet our facing.
The conference, held at NSTU annually by the Department of Foreign Languages, Humanities, invites students from universities throughout Novosibirsk to participate. This year, students represented seven universities from diverse disciplines.
Fellow Presents National Parks: America’s Geographical & Ecological Diversity
On November 11, Jennifer Depto, Sr. English Language Fellow engaged the host university’s students in an insightful look into the role that national parks play in American culture, history and research. Some highlights of the presentation included songs such as, This Land is Your Land, in helping to promote an understanding of why and how America’s national parks came to be, ecological issues such as the Yellowstone gray wolf v. elk debate, and the archeological treasure trove that characterize many of the parks, including the Petrified Forest National Park, where archeologists recently uncovered a skeleton that now questions the existing theories of dinosaur evolution.
The presentation concluded with a short quiz on featured parks in America as well as tested students on their knowledge of Russia’s geography, parks and recreational activities. Both students and teachers who attended engaged in discussion on the topics presented.
Fellow Provides Teacher Workshop in Shaping the Way We Teach English
Jennifer Depto, Sr. English Language Fellow provided the 3rd workshop in the Shaping the Ways series of professional development trainings to teachers from across the Novosibirsk region. The training focused on pronunciation and production and used a blend of Shaping the Way materials and the fellows own resources. Teachers responded that the workshop deepened their knowledge of specific aspects of English language and that they enjoyed the interactive nature of the workshop and are looking forward to using many of the materials and suggestions provided in the workshop. The workshop introduced activities that covered a range of students’ levels, from elementary to university to meets the needs of all the teachers in the class.
Fellow Shares Insight into America’s Cuisine: Past Habits and Current Trends
Jennifer Depto, Sr. English Language Fellow greeted the public on a snowy Friday evening to share insights into the American food culture. Topics ranged from what goes into packed lunches to most popular foods, traditional holiday foods and healthy eating: organic or not? The presentation combined a mix of US gov’t. data, independent research studies and pop culture surveys on purchasing habits, USDA organic foods and Americans’ eating habits to reveal a changing, complex food culture. Also of interest were some comparisons of British and American perspectives on toast and sandwiches: Conclusion- Brits may have invented the sandwich, but Americans perfected it! Discussion was dynamic and the audience was engaged and really interested in what and how Americans think about food.
English Language Fellow Visits Mordovian Capital for Teacher Conference
On November 6-7, Jennifer Depto, Sr. English Language Fellow was an honored guest at the Mordovia State University in Saransk for the conference, Innovative Approaches to EL Assessment. Over 150 individuals (60 teachers and 80 students) participated in the event. The fellow conducted 2 seminars: Integrating Technology into the EL Teaching & Learning and New Approaches to Vocabulary & Assessment. The conference attendees expressed interest in the topics, asking critical and thought-provoking questions.
The fellow also hosted a cultural presentation for a broader, more general audience entitled, National Parks & Recreation. The presentation highlighted history of the park system, featured detailed information about 10 well-known parks including its flora, fauna and related ecological issues. The students enjoyed interacting throughout the presentation as well as the discussion and ‘quizzes’ that followed.
Because of the travel issues getting to and from Saransk (being rerouted to another airport due to dense regional fog that delayed flights for 15 hours and closed the airport, arriving to the conference late and needing to find alternative transportation back to Moscow) the fellow’s visit was eagerly anticipated overall, a success.
The conference concluded with a visit to the Saransk Art Museum housing the works of local Mordovian artists including Ezyra, a famous Russian sculptor known and the Russian Rodin.
Yekaterinburg-based Fellow leads seminar on assessment
On October 29, Melissa Hauke, English Language Fellow in Yekaterinburg, conducted a seminar on assessing students learning English for business purposes. She asked the teachers to think about how they assess, how often they assess and what do they do with the results of their assessments. Then she briefly went over the different types of assessment: informal and formal, formative and summative, teacher, peer and self. Teachers commented on the different types. They also read an article about self-assessment and discussed it. They were questioning the authors and debating amongst themselves. To finish the seminar, Fellow gave them their assignment to use exit slips with their classes, content and performance, and encouraged them to use both types: sometimes assess to discover what the students had learned that day and sometimes ask the students to assess how they performed in class. The teachers were positive and many were enthusiastic about trying this informal assessment.
Yekaterinburg-based Fellow explains Halloween traditions to students
On October 30, the International relations department of the Urals State University of Economics helped the Fellow organize the activity. The university students were encouraged to dress for the party and be ready to play some games. They began the event by sharing the history of Halloween and discussing their personal experiences with Halloween (Fellow and Fulbright ETA). After that they broke into 3 groups and rotated through 3 stations of Halloween themed activities. After that everyone enjoyed tea, candy and a Halloween themed snack provided by the Forum Cafe, the cafe located at the university.
Kazan-based Fellow Meets Access Students
EL Fellow Paul Spitzer met the local group of ACCESS students last Sunday at one of their weekly meetings, held at the Energy University here in Kazan, Russia. The lively, energetic bunch of 15-16-year-olds had just finished voting on their list of activities for the coming year. After introducing himself, Spitzer asked the students to describe what they wanted to do at some of the activities e.g. ice hockey, paintball, holiday parties, etc. Then they sang some traditional American folksongs for him and demonstrated a few dances they’ve put together. After that warm-up, the group all walked down the street to a park overlooking the Kazanka River, right next to the City Archives building –an unusual piece of architecture which locally is called The Cup. Group coordinator Yuliana Amanova, from the university’s International Office, had arranged for a videographer to video the group as they danced in front of The Cup. After a few takes, they headed over the bridge to the Kazan Kremlin and repeated their performance at that location, using several of the impressive buildings there e.g. the minarets of the Kul Sherif Mosque as dramatic backdrop.
Khabarovsk-based English Language Fellow Conducts Translation Class at the Art Museum of Khabarovsk, Russia
Khabarovsk-based English Language Fellow John Flynn travelled by bus with 10 students to the art museum where they awaited the arrival of another teacher and her Russian Culture class of about 20 students. They were led through the museum by a guide who highlighted paintings and sculptures and icons from the museum’s permanent collection, before she led them to the special exhibition. While the guide spoke in Russian, Fellow had his students take turns, one at a time, translating her explanations to him. Because the focus of this class is on methods of translation, the visit worked well as practice in real time for each of his ten students. They found the translating difficult, but they all said they enjoyed the challenge. They will now write in Russian an essay about their favorite work of art in the collection. This will be turned in to their Russian Culture professor, and one copy will be turned in to the Fellow. John will use these essays in class, exchanging them with students so that they can translate each other’s essays in class.
Novosibirsk-based Senior English Language Fellow Greets Public with a Visit from Ireland and the UK
On September 27, the senior fellow in Novosibirsk shared her adventures traveling, learning and getting lost in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. Some of the literary highlights of the presentation included the search for ancient treasures including the illuminated Book of Kells in Trinity College in Dublin, the Red Book of Hergest in the Bodlian Library, Oxford and the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum in England. Jennifer was also sure to entertain the attendees with legends related to historical artifacts, stories about legendary writers such as Sir Walter Scott as well as incidents related to communication breakdowns among English language speakers. Of equal interest to the audience was the planning involved in the trip. The audience was intrigued to learn how to plan a treasure-laden and cost-effective trip. The audience also shared their experiences traveling to these countries and their knowledge of the history.
Moscow-based Fellow Starts “Teacher-to-Teacher” (T2T) Workshop Series at the American Center
English Language Fellow John Kotnarowski facilitated a short (1 hour, 30 min) workshop on promoting coherence and cohesion in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) writing via the PIE-C (Point, Illustration, Explanation, Conclusion) technique within the framework of “T2T” workshop series at the American Center in Moscow. The presentation began with a short, form-focused overview PPT and then moved on to review some examples, answer questions and practice with prepared worksheets. The participants seemed to enjoy the presentation and John was subsequently invited to participate (as an invited “Expert Lecturer”) at the Moscow English Language Teacher’s Association 3rd Annual International Conference.
Senior Fellow participates in Altai Krai E-Teachers’ Conference
Jennifer Depto, Senior English Language Fellow in Novosibirsk, participated in an E-teachers’ Conference where English language teachers from a 400 km radius gathered in the Altai Krai region of Siberia to share their knowledge of effective teaching practices, build networks and, of course, immerse themselves in English for two days. Approximately 130 teachers from across the region came to attend workshops on a range of topics including the Fellow’s presentations on Critical Thinking in ELT, New Approaches to Vocabulary, and Blended Learning in English Language Instruction. One of the highlights was getting the teachers to participate in using Polleverywhere and QRCodes. Students from Altai State Technical University also attended the cultural presentation, Free Time in America. The conference was a great success for all and despite the snowstorm that began late Friday morning and throughout the day, teachers showed up on time and displayed enthusiasm throughout the two days. More information about the conference can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/altesolorg/
Senior Fellow Greets NSTU Teachers and Students a Warm Welcome Back
On October 8, the senior fellow in Novosibirsk met with her fellow colleagues and students at her host university – Novosibirsk State Technical University- to begin a series of cultural presentations for the university similar to the presentations provided at the English Language Center. She shared her adventures of planning and travelling through Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. Some of the highlights of the presentation included stories of how some unique idioms and expressions have entered our language, such as, “That’s all a bunch of blarney!”, the historical relationship of the four countries, politically and linguistically and featured poetry of famous writers including Yeats, Burns and Scott.
Moscow ELO presents at the Bauman State technical University conference
ELO-supported newly established Special Interest Group (SIG) on teaching English for Special purposes (ESP) of the National Association of Russian teachers of English (NATE) had its first conference in a famous Bauman State Technical University in Moscow on November 18-19, 2015. Thanks to ELO’s informational and financial support, seven best experts in ESP from different parts of Russia participated in the conference and presented workshops and master classes for 150 tertiary level teachers. ELO and ELO Moscow –based Fellow opened the conference with plenary presentations which tuned the teachers in open and vivid discussions on teaching ESP under new conditions. Additional information about ELO available resources, namely MOOCs, webinars, E-teachers courses was in high demand as Russian teachers have to meet the new requirements of introducing blended learning, flipped classroom and online education in teaching ESP courses.
Novosibirsk-based Fellow Visits Tobolsk
Sr. English Language Fellow Jennifer Depto visited a branch campus of Tyumen State University on Nov. 21 to provide professional development training to teachers and student teachers in Tobolsk. The sessions included New Approaches to Vocabulary Instruction and Integrating Technology into the classroom. A highlight for many of the students who attended was a cultural presentation on Ireland and the UK. The audience enjoyed traveling back in time by listening to stories of castles and queens, the discoveries of medieval artifacts and amusing tales if the origins of idioms like, “That’s just a bunch of blarney!” Many mentioned that they were fascinated by the viewpoint of an American family traveling through Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales.
Yekaterinburg-based Fellow Presents on American winter holidays
On December 6, during the monthly scheduled Ural ELTA meeting, Yekaterinburg-based Fellow Melissa Hauke gave a presentation on the holidays that occur between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day to pre-service and in-service teachers in Yekaterinburg. The session began with participants brainstorming the winter holidays that are celebrated in the US. Everyone guessed Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Fellow informed them that Americans have four holidays that they observe. For Hanukkah and Christmas, the participants looked at pictures and had to guess the name of an item. The Fellow then explained the purpose of each item. For Kwanzaa, the Fellow showed photos of the seven symbols related to this holiday and explained briefly about each one. She then showed a YouTube video about Hanukkah. After the presentation, the participants played two games, Spin the Dreidel and a Christmas game. All participants were enthusiastically playing and asking questions about how to play the games and about the information contained in the games.
Kazan-based Fellow Presents in Chistopol, Tatarstan
Kazan-based English Language Fellow Paul Spitzer and his counterpart professor Marina Solnyshkina presented sessions focusing on Communicative Language Approaches. Prof. Solnyshkina talked about assessment and the IELTS exam to the teachers. The Fellow presented on American music and dance to a group of students and then on Communicative Language approaches to a mixed group.
Novosibirsk-based Fellow in Tyumen
Jennifer Depto, Sr. English Language Fellow visited Tyumen State University on Nov. 19 to provide professional development training to the teachers of the Tyumen English Language Teachers’ Association. The seminar topics included Effective Assessment Practices and Engaging Students in Critical Thinking. Activities included participating in a Socratic seminar, strategies for designing effective questions and locating appropriate materials for a seminar, adding critical thinking objectives into existing lessons and using logic square to practice English. Teachers responded positively to the seminars and especially enjoyed the Socratic seminar and logic squares activities.
Novosibirsk-based Fellow Conducts Final Shaping the Way Webinar Workshop
On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, Sr. Fellow, Jennifer Depto concluded a series of ‘Shaping the Way” webinar workshops with a group of teachers from the Novosibirsk region. The teachers attended a series of 7 workshops between October and December on a range of webinar topics including Phrasal Verbs, Pronunciation, Games in ELT, Critical Thinking, Creativity and PBL, Literature in PBL and Balanced Listening Instruction. Due to time difference it was challenging to host participate in live webinars. The fellow engages teachers in a mix of discussion and activities interspersed with clips from the webinar. This has proven to be a more engaging and relevant approach to viewing pre-recorded webinars. The teachers enjoyed participating in the professional development series and look forward to more in 2015.
Novosibirsk-based Fellow Presents Christmas & Holiday Traditions
Jennifer Depto, Sr. Fellow engaged the university’s alumni and students in a fascinating look at the evolution of the Christmas Holiday Season as it is today, from its Puritan beginnings when festive celebrations weren’t common practice to today’s festive season that begins at Thanksgiving and lasts through the New Year. A feature part of the presentation included listening to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, the iconic American poem that helped to shape the image of Santa Clause, the poem’s continued contested authorship and the mock trial that takes place every Christmas in NY. Other highlights included the revival of Christmas credited to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol & Irving’s Old Christmas and the evolution of the shopping tradition that began more than a century ago. The presentation concluded with a short quiz on elf riddles that amused many. For example, What do they teach elves at school? The elf-abet! Both students and faculty alumni who attended enjoyed the presentation and engaged in discussion.
Kazan-based Fellow Gives Presentations at University in Yoshkar-Ola, Russia
On December 15-16, 2014, Kazan-based English Language Fellow Paul Spitzer delivered four presentations to students and faculty of the Department of Foreign Languages at the University in Yoshkar-Ola, Russia. The topics were: English Language Teaching Methods, English Language Teacher Training, Communicative Language Approach and Teaching Translation. The purpose was to introduce some new approaches. All the sessions were well-received and there were questions from the participants in every session.
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