COUNTRIES: Dominican Republic
DURATION: 11/30/2017 - 04/30/2018
FUNDER: U.S. Department of State
PARTNER: DREAM Project
CONTACTNeil.OFlaherty@sit.edu

Program Description

The Building English Teaching Capacity in the Dominican Republic provided training and professional development for English language teachers from remote, underserved areas of the country.

English language teachers in the north-west region of the Dominican Republic face significant challenges in their work, including a lack of resources and large class sizes. They also have little exposure to English in their daily lives and few opportunities to continue developing their language skills.

World Learning, in collaboration with the Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring Project (DREAM), helped teachers in remote areas of the country develop the skills to use English as a classroom language and to teach in low-resource environments. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the program used a blended-learning style incorporating four weeks of online coursework followed by 35 hours of face-to-face training.

Program Goals

  • To improve English language education in underserved areas of the Dominican Republic.
  • To provide training and professional development to build the knowledge and skills of English language teachers in remote areas.

During this blended-learning program, participants first took a month-long online course in English Language for the Communicative Classroom, which World Learning’s TESOL team designed and customized to fit their unique situation and needs. Following the online course, teachers participated in 35 hours of in-person training delivered by World Learning trainers. The face-to-face component focused on lesson planning to build students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills, as well as grammar and vocabulary. Participants also had opportunities to practice their new teaching skills in class and receive feedback on their performance. After their training program, local ESL experts working with the DREAM project observed all participating teachers in their classrooms, using observation and feedback protocols devised by World Learning.

The program also helped create a professional community of language teachers by setting up What’s App groups for each cohort so that participants can continue to share information, advice and resources, with input from trainers as necessary.

The program has already had a positive effect on language education in these underserved schools. An impact study of the 2017 iteration of the program, conducted six months after the training ended, demonstrated high levels of satisfaction among participants, supervisors, and school principals.

Photo by Angel Ramos G (Constanza) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons