Applied linguistics program hosting international educators

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Volker Hegelheimer

AMES, Iowa – Twenty-six teachers, professors and education officials from a dozen nations are coming to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University later this month to continue their training in English language learning materials development.

Faculty, staff and graduate students in Iowa State’s applied linguistics program in the Department of English have been developing print and electronic materials as part of a project called "Engaging M@terials for Global English." In 2011 the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awarded the applied linguistics program $1.2 million to help create learning materials for international educators to teach English to students and to provide materials development training through an online course and a summer workshop.

"We’re bringing in 26 education professionals with leadership roles in their countries," said Volker Hegelheimer, associate professor of English. The group, which just completed the online course, arrives in Iowa June 22 and leaves July 14.

"The purpose of the project is for these individuals to take the knowledge they gain at Iowa State along with the newly developed materials supplied by the Department of State and share them with other educators in their home nations," Hegelheimer said. "We want to have a multiplier effect."

A special emphasis of the Engaging Materials project has been the use of technology in language learning and teaching, a strength of the Iowa State applied linguistics program, he added.

Hegelheimer and fellow Iowa State linguistics faculty members Carol Chapelle, distinguished professor, and John Levis, associate professor, are leading the program.

The international educators will try out the new materials in Ames, contribute ideas based on their expertise, and provide feedback to the applied linguistics faculty and staff. When the resources are completed, the Department of State will distribute them globally.

"A lot of students around the world will end up using educational materials developed here at Iowa State," Hegelheimer added.

The 26 educators are from Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, Egypt, Togo, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ukraine, China and South Africa. They have been participating in a 10-week online course on state-of-the-art materials development. Following their Iowa visit, they will continue with a five-week online follow-up course this fall.

The materials under development at Iowa State range from tried and true traditional books, songbooks and worksheets to technology-based resources such as DVDs, social networking and video games.

"Technology has really changed English language instruction and is now infused into how we teach English internationally," Hegelheimer said. He noted video games and music are particularly appealing for youth.

"We’re trying to create games that take advantage of the natural curiosity that young learners have with video games. They are educational games that will help them learn the language."


NEWS RELEASE College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ( Iowa State University

Contacts: Volker Hegelheimer, English, 515-294-2282, Steve Jones, Liberal Arts & Sciences Communications, (515) 294-0461,