For the second time in as many years, Dr. Adrienne Johnson was selected for an assignment through the U.S. Department of State’s English Language Specialist program.
Dr. Johnson, chair of the Department of Education and coordinator of the graduate-level TESOL program, travelled to Egypt in 2018 and to Taiwan in fall 2019. In Taiwan, she spent 15 days conducting 17 workshops with six different topics in three cities, training 221 teachers to teach their STEM content areas in English. Her workshop participants included current teachers, pre-service teachers and university faculty.
The State Department’s partners in Taiwan requested the workshops because the Taiwanese government has new national education initiatives focused on promoting the teaching of STEM content areas in English.
“The teachers were very eager to learn new strategies,” she said. “It challenged me to be the best teacher I can be.”
Dr. Johnson said preparing the workshops and teaching them made her rethink how she teaches here and strengthened her skills. Also, she said she loved learning about the Taiwanese school system and talking about the American school system.
Not knowing the English-speaking proficiency levels of her workshop participants before she arrived in Taiwan, she said she prepared a lot of hands-on activities for the teachers who were not strong English speakers.
Dr. Johnson, who earned a doctorate and master’s in linguistics, noted that a person may be fluent in a language, but not know a lot of academic terms in that language, so that was the challenge of the workshops she taught.
“I feel very fortunate that I get to help other teachers and live my dream job,” she said. “I love to come back and share what I have learned with my students.”