For more than 85 years, World Learning has equipped individuals and institutions to address the world’s most pressing problems. We believe that, working together with our partners, we can change this world for the better.
Prior to administering assessments and trainings, World Learning works with organizations to determine their needs and set appropriate language proficiency benchmarks. The assessment utilizes a comprehensive, four-pronged approach to measure individuals’ skills against those benchmarks. This approach combines the MET: Michigan English Test, SPEAK: Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit, and World Learning’s own customizable writing test and interview protocol. Combining these four assessment types allows for an accurate rating of participants’ four key language skills, reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
World Learning ESL technical experts tailor the writing test and interview protocol for each client to incorporate their needs and the context of the assessment. Two trained World Learning raters independently score the SPEAK test, writing test, and interview protocol to ensure accuracy. Once all scores are finalized, World Learning converts them into a single master rating that corresponds to standard language proficiency benchmarks. World Learning also provides Certificates of Achievement to participants who reach the benchmarks set by their organizations.
From 2014-2016, World Learning implemented the U.S. Department of State-funded Developing Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement in Northern Nigeria through English Language Training (YLCEN) program.
YLCEN was designed to have a positive message with a communicative and participatory curriculum that would enable youth to resist the call of violent extremism. The program aimed to increase hope, tolerance, and a sense of community in at-risk youth by involving them in leadership and civic engagement activities through youth clubs, strengthening English teachers’ skills in participatory teaching methodology, and developing the ability of local partners to implement programs for at-risk youth. More than 200 youth, 20 local teachers, and two local civil society organizations participated in the program in six neighborhoods in the northern cities of Jos and Kano. Both cities have experienced religious extremist violence from groups including Boko Haram in the last decade and have high unemployment and dropout rates.
Through the dedicated work of the local partners and World Learning-trained teachers, the youth club members reported they were more interested in returning to school or to begin small-scale entrepreneurial pursuits. They also felt they had a better connection to their communities through volunteer projects and reported a greater willingness to engage with people outside of their religion, ethnicity, and gender.
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.