“The English Language Fellow Program is probably the biggest leap in the dark you will ever take, and probably the most rewarding, life-changing experience you can possibly have.” -Alumni Ambassador Jamila Barton
Alumni Ambassador Jamila Barton’s work developing English language teaching capacity reached far and wide during her time in Amman, Jordan. Read below about her adventures cultivating the many professional and cultural opportunities offered by the English Language Fellow Program. Then, click below to watch her exciting Day in the Life of a Fellow video!
During her fellowship, Barton worked on a number of projects impacting English language education in Jordan. She divided the majority of her time between two host institutions: Queen Rania Teachers Academy and the English Linguistics Program at the University of Jordan. As a Fellow and faculty member of these institutions, she was also able to apply for a classroom materials grant, design impactful projects, and provide other professional development opportunities to teachers in addition to her primary duties teaching and training at the university.
At Queen Rania Teachers Academy, Barton worked on a number of projects to impact English language education in Jordan. She secured a grant to develop a “Phonics for Early Reading Success” program to train 25 English language teachers in 1st-3rd grade classrooms. As a part of the grant, teachers were given handbooks and classroom materials from Oxford Reading Tree and participated in a 3-day intensive workshop to practice new phonics techniques. Barton served as a teacher trainer and mentor throughout the process. Following the workshop, she had the opportunity to visit the participants in their classrooms and provide individual support and continued feedback with additional observations and follow-up training. Barton reflected on this event stating, “I loved working with the in-service English language teachers in the public schools. I got to know the two cohorts I worked with well and really enjoyed learning about the Jordanian education system and spending time with new colleagues and friends.”
During her time in Jordan, Barton also conducted teacher training in educational technology for teachers. She provided tablets, speakers, and internet to 20 teachers in public schools in the greater Amman area. She then worked with teachers on best practices for using the technology to increase student learning and engagement. Following the training, teachers developed online projects outlining how they use educational technology in the classroom and then presented on their work at the American Language Center’s Shaping English Teacher Conference in Amman. Teachers shared that the skills they learned during the workshops improved teaching and learning outcomes and allowed them to try out different methods for online communication.
Barton shared that her experience as a Fellow had a profound impact on her life personally and professionally. She had no previous experience living in the Middle East before embarking on her fellowship. Barton said that her experience living in a foreign country where she did not speak the language helped her hone “adaptability, flexibility, and cultural competence.” As a result of participating in the program, Barton decided to go back to school and pursue a PhD in Applied Linguistics. Barton is currently in her 3rd year at Georgia State University and often reflects on her life as a Fellow in Jordan.