The U.S. Department of State has selected Spencer Salas from the UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education for a July 2019 English Language Specialist project focusing on teacher capacity building with Tunisian, Libyan, and Moroccan Ministries of Education. Salas is part of a select group, as one of approximately 80 U.S. citizens each year selected to serve on an English Language Specialist assignment.
Salas, a Professor in the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education, will work with cohorts of ministry officials, teacher trainers, and teachers in Tunis and Tangiers to support the region’s move to performance-based language learning.
The English Language Specialist Program is the premier opportunity for leaders in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to enact meaningful and sustainable changes in the way that English is taught abroad. Through projects developed by U.S. Embassies in more than 80 countries, EL Specialists work directly with local teacher trainers, educational leaders, and ministry of education officials to exchange knowledge, build capacity, and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities in the United States and overseas.
Since 1991, the English Language Specialist Program has sent hundreds of TESOL scholars and educators abroad to promote English language learning, enhance English teaching capacity, and foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through cultural exchange. On assignment, EL Specialists may conduct intensive teacher training, advise ministries of education or participate in high-level educational consultations, and offer plenary presentations at regional, national or international TESOL conferences. These projects are challenging and those selected represent the best of the U.S. TESOL community. In return, the program provides professional development opportunities to help participants experience different cultures and build skills that can greatly enhance their TESOL careers back home.
English Language Specialists are counted among the more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Specialist Program is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University.