For materials to teach English overseas, the Department of State turns to ISU’s applied linguistics faculty

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When the U.S. government needed English language learning materials, it turned to the applied linguistics faculty in the Department of English at Iowa State University.

Faculty, staff and graduate students in applied linguistics 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.

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.

In summer 2012, 24 teachers, professors and education officials from a dozen nations came to Iowa State to continue their training in English language learning materials development. The individuals will take the knowledge they gained at Iowa State and eventually will use it with the newly developed materials, to be supplied by the Department of State, and share them with other educators in their home nations.

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.

Iowa State linguistics faculty members Volker Hegelheimer, Carol Chapelle and John Levis are leading the program.