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NewsJun 14, 2022

Mentoring Mexican teachers of English

State Department selects Dr. Amy Gooden for prestigious English-language specialist project

Amy Gooden teaching a class
Associate Professor Amy Gooden in the classroom.

The federal government recently selected Dr. Amy Gooden for a four-month project focused on English Language Teaching (ELT) mentoring and supervision in Mexico. Her stint began on Memorial Day.

Gooden, associate professor of TESOL/Bilingual Education and co-director of our Institute for English Language Programs Beyond Borders, is part of a select group. The project is one of about 240 that the U.S. Department of State’s English Language Specialist Program supports each year.

Dr. Amy Gooden

Gooden will lead an academic team in the development of a resource guide for mentors and supervisors in teaching English as a foreign Language (TEFL). The guide will reflect current trends in language education and include real-world activities that complement theoretical aspects. The guide aims to provide meaningful, continuing professional development for classroom teachers.

“It is an honor to partner with the academic team at Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla and the Jaime Torres Bodet Normal School to develop a guide that illustrates inclusive, culturally responsive and transformative approaches to TEFL mentoring and training,” says Gooden. “With Mexico’s growing demand for English-language teaching, high-quality mentoring is crucial.”

Gooden has extensive experience working with teachers outside the United States. Last summer, she and Dr. Louise Michelle Vital, assistant professor of International Higher Education, worked with hundreds of educators in the Caribbean to create and support inclusive classrooms for neurodiverse students through a series of five virtual, weeklong workshops. Earlier this year, the two also taught an innovative English for Education and Empowerment course to help Haitian immigrant parents assist their children with school and life success.

Also last spring, Gooden served as a senior technical advisor for a USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Bureau for Economic Growth and the Environment-sponsored project in Morocco. She was a team member for a Global Data for Evidence in Education initiative, providing analytic and evaluation support. In that role, Gooden supported English language instruction reform in higher education and provided recommendations for Foundation Year and Language Education Higher Education Reform in Morocco.

“My work in language education, higher education and professional development with teachers locally and globally began years ago,” Gooden says. “I started my journey as a secondary ESL and Spanish teacher in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Prior to my position at Lesley, I served as a preceptor at Harvard University for over a decade, leading English for Academic Purposes courses aimed at supporting the academic success of international students.” In that position, she won the Excellence in Teaching Award multiple times and later served as faculty and director of International Teacher Training Programs at Boston University, where she established a partnership with the Ministry of Education in China, in which she provided intensive in-country training on current trends in English language teaching pedagogy to K-12 educators.

English Language Specialist Program

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 United States embassies in more than 80 countries, specialists work directly with local teacher trainers, educational leaders, and ministry of education and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions and communities in the United States and overseas

Since 1991, the English Language Specialist Program has supported in-country, virtual and hybrid projects in which hundreds of TESOL scholars and educators promote English language learning, enhance English teaching capacity and foster mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through cultural exchange. During their projects, English Language 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.

The State Department announcement said 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 at 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.