Posted: March 17, 2015
The Fulbright Scholar Program is pleased to announce an exciting new innovation for applicants in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). For the 2014-15 competition, U.S. scholars wishing to apply for teaching or teaching/research grants will be able to broaden the number of countries in which they can be considered for a grant.
Worldwide interest in TEFL expertise continues to grow. In Chile, for example, the Ministry of Education seeks to increase English language fluency across the entire population within one generation. Vietnam is actively reforming its foreign language teaching programs, with the ultimate goal that graduates from postsecondary institutions speak a foreign language by 2020. Rwanda is transitioning from French to English in its educational system, and Morocco is experiencing a similar shift. In Montenegro, English language teaching and learning is recognized as contributing to human capital development. In Tajikistan, a Fulbright Scholar has the potential to have a huge impact on English language program development, as the grantee may well be the first American citizen many Tajik students meet.
Fulbrighters in TEFL teach and conduct teacher and faculty training, but also contribute to program, curriculum and resource development in English language departments. Yilin Sun, a 2011-12 Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan, gave graduate lectures at the National Taiwan Normal University, but also worked with local English teachers in nearby counties and helped train American Fulbright English Teaching Assistants placed in Taiwan.
TEFL scholars also engage in research and collaborative projects. Peter Sayer, a 2011-12 Fulbright Scholar to Mexico, reported that his Fulbright TEFL grant led to a collaboration that is expected to continue. “I feel I was able to contribute my area of expertise as a scholar who has done research in an American university, and in return I made excellent connections with the local and national communities of academics,” Sayer said. “I was also able to get access to the research sites, and even spawned a few projects and sites that I hadn't anticipated that proved very fruitful.”
Due to the perennial interest across the globe in strengthening programs in English-language instruction, scholars in TEFL are being sought in each of Fulbright’s six world regions: Western Hemisphere, Europe and Eurasia, South and Central Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Middle East and North Africa
While most Fulbright Scholar applications are for a single country program (with the exception of Regional Research Programs), candidates for the Fulbright TEFL Awards are encouraged to consider a wider set of options. Applicants may select up to three countries, one world region, or simply indicate no preference, leaving placement open to any country.
By leaving the placement question open, scholars are able to maximize their chances for placement by allowing more flexibility to CIES, the U.S. Department of State and our partners in the Fulbright Commissions and U.S. embassies abroad to use our networks to deploy scholars where they are most needed.
The impact of a Fulbright Scholar experience doesn’t end when the grant does. Jennifer Brown, a 2011-12 Fulbright Scholar in TEFL, believes that her time abroad will “influence the way I teach and the way I develop curriculum.” Furthermore, she added, her Fulbright Experience led her “to develop friends and colleagues that I will share and collaborate with throughout my life.”