College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Mason team improves English language teaching in Uzbekistan

December 15, 2022

Drs. Joan K. Shin and Rebecca K. Fox, professors in Mason’s School of Education in the College of Education and Human Development, traveled to Uzbekistan in October of this year to assess the progress of a project titled “English Speaking Nation Program: Secondary Teacher Training.” This is an initiative in which Mason researchers are playing an important role in developing training and resource materials to help Uzbek educators strengthen their ability to provide English language instruction using English in the classroom. The program was established to improve Uzbekistan’s English language secondary education so that students will be better equipped to compete effectively in the world’s economy.

The program is administered by the American Councils for International Education under a three-year grant that was awarded to Mason’s Global Online Teacher Education Center (GOTEC) by the U.S. Department of State Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan. Dr. Shin serves as Director of GOTEC and she is the principal investigator for this initiative. A representative of the TESOL International Association accompanied the Mason delegation in the visit to Uzbekistan.

The English Speaking Nation Program consists of a combination of school leader training, supportive peer mentoring of educators, and teacher professional development—all focused on enhancing teachers’ proficiency in the English language and improving their ability to teach English in the classroom. As part of this project, a Mason team developed an interactive 10-module online English language teacher professional development course titled “Teaching English Through English.” The course is geared to secondary school educators and provides instruction on effective approaches for teaching English and building a classroom environment that encourages the active use of English in managing learning activities. In addition, the English Speaking Nation Program includes a “Training-of-Trainer" program delivered by representatives from Mason and the TESOL International Association.

In all, the initiative provides professional development to approximately 250 teacher leaders in Uzbekistan, who will eventually cascade the professional development program to some 15,000 teachers across the country.

Through extensive observations, interviews, and focus groups conducted at 15 sites across 12 regions of Uzbekistan, members of the Mason team saw first-hand the success of their work in support of the English Speaking Nation Program. They learned that many educators in that country are now using English, rather than Uzbek, as the primary language for delivering instruction in their classrooms. An article providing more detail on the Mason team’s visit to Uzbekistan appears on the American Councils for International Education website.