E-Teacher Scholarship Program:
The IRC promotes the E-Teacher Scholarship Program to the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the “Colombian Association of Professors of English” (ASOCOPI) which hosts an annual meeting with more than 600 teachers. Among five different topics, Assessment for EFL, English for Business, English for Law, Teaching English to Young leaders, and Teaching Critical Thinking; Colombian English teachers are nominated to participate on these e-courses which allow them to improve their professional skills at no cost for the teacher.
English Language Materials:
The Embassy has distributed materials and given small grants to support the acquisition of English teaching materials to a few institutions. The IRC distributes English teaching materials to the Bi-National Centers, the MOE, and ASOCOPI which receive hundreds of issues of the E-Forum magazine.
Shaping the Way We Teach English:
It is a 14-module teacher training video series developed and produced in cooperation with the University of Oregon, produced for overseas use only. The series incorporates classroom scenes from around the world and is accompanied by teacher trainer manual and additional readings. Through funds from the Regional English Language Officer, the Embassy supported a teacher from the Bi-National Center (BNC) in Manizales to conduct training on “Shaping the Way We Teach English” at the Annual Meeting of ASOCOPI and provided “Shaping the Way” kits to workshops participants.
Through small grants to the BNCs, the Embassy supports English Language conferences and workshops and also occasionally provides funding for visiting speakers. For example, the Embassy funded the BNC in Medellin who is conducting training for English Language Teachers at the Technological University of Chocó. This project will provide training for 12 full-time teachers with the goal of improving their communication skills by sending them to a six month course, which will include immersion trips, projects, English for specific purposes and real life situations.
In 2008, the Embassy sent one participant to the TESOL Conference and this year has nominated several candidates for the 2009 TESOL Conference to be held in March in Washington, DC.
English Language Fellow:
During the academic year 2009/2010, Colombia is hosting a Senior English Language Fellow who is located in Bogotá and who is training teachers in regional BNCs and public school institutions. In addition she is training handicapped Colombian Military and Police to become English teachers. The ELF is being supported by the Fulbright Commission and the Office of English Language Programs of the U.S. Department of State.
English Language Specialist:
The Office of English Language Programs selected the Embassy nomination for an English Language Specialist who conducted workshops during a one-week period at a consortium of Bilingual School in Bogota in February of 2009.
Martin Luther King Fellows:
In 2006, Embassy Bogotá launched the Martin Luther King (MLK) English language Fellows Program to expanding access for Afro-Colombian and indigenous minority youth to academic and economic opportunities. Afro-Colombian and indigenous peoples who constitute more than 25 percent of the total population of Colombia, have long been neglected and disadvantaged. The MLK fellows program is meant to promote their economic and social empowerment. The MLK program began in Bogotá as a pilot project and expanded to Cali, Medellin and Quibdó and has developed the English language and leadership skills of a total of 87 minority students in two years. This initiative is currently supported from post, Washington and USAID funds.
College Horizons Initiative:
This program was established in 2007 in Tumaco - Nariño department - to provide English language training to 25 outstanding economically disadvantaged high school students through the BNC and other English language training institutions in cities without BNCs. The program seeks to expand higher education and professional opportunities for the participants both in Colombia and overseas. In 2008, the program was expanded to include 25 additional Fellows from the city of Buenventura - Valle del Cauca department - and is run by the Cali BNC. The initiative has a strong mentorship component run by Nariño University students in Pasto and by professionals from Universidad del Pacifico in Buenaventura. This program is fully funded by the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau (ECA) of the State Department and by the Embassy.
The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program:
Funded this year solely by ECA, the Teaching Assistant Program aims to strengthen English Language instruction in Colombian educational institutions by establishing a native speaker presence. During the 2008-2009 academic year, twelve assistants are teaching in Colombian universities. The Embassy is providing a small grant for an enrichment seminar for the grantees organized by the Fulbright Commission.
English Language Competitions:
The Embassy funded the BNC in Periera to organize the “First English Olympics in Pereira” which gathered high-school students from all 35 public and private non-bilingual schools. The competition which was held from October 16 – October 24, 2008 sought to stimulate and reward English language achievements but do so through creativity, team-work, and fair competition.