Algiers, the country’s capital, is one of Africa’s largest urban areas. Originally planned for 750,000 people, it now teems with 3.6 million inhabitants. It is situated on the Mediterranean coast of Africa, midway between Tangier and Tunis, south of the island of Mallorca. From the sea, Algiers is a spectacular sight, rising sharply from the port area and business district to the residential areas along tree covered hills. In sunlight, the white buildings of “Alger la Blanche” gleam against the blue Mediterranean below and the green pines above. Architecturally, the city is mostly European with a strong Mediterranean flavor. The Casbah, an ancient, congested quarter in the heart of the city, contains most of what remains of the Ottoman Turkish city of the 16th–18th centuries. Characteristic of modern Algiers are the many crowded apartment buildings with their scenic views of the city and the sea. Among the numerous mosques are a few dating from the 17th century and others that were originally constructed as churches by the French during the long colonial period. The Hydra neighborhood, where many Fellows have lived, has a more European (suburban) feel. Traffic, especially during morning, mid-day, and evening rush hours, is very heavy and often frustrating. The hilly geography of Algiers, coupled with the difficulty of updating the streets has meant that the city has not kept up with the proliferation of vehicles in recent years. The climate in Algiers is typically Mediterranean. Summers are warm and humid while winter temperatures rarely fall below freezing, but the dampness can make it feel cold. Cool weather generally begins in November and lasts into March, during which time rainfall is more likely. Approximately 1,000 Americans reside throughout Algeria, about 250 of whom live in the Algiers area.
Host Institution: Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) Algiers
Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) is a public school run by the Ministry of Higher Education and specializes in teacher training. The ENS English department trains future middle school and high school teachers, who pursue 4 and 5 year degrees, respectively. The total student population is around 9,500 students who are studying in the departments of Arabic, French, English, History, and Philosophy. The English Department has approximately 1,500 students, with approximately 300 graduating each year. The focus in the department is primarily on the need for effective teaching methodology. ENS teachers are also interested in courses related to the United States, particularly American civilization and literature, in addition to culture in language teaching. Currently, the English department teaches the 4 language skills, grammar, applied linguistics, psycho-pedagogy, and phonetics, research methodology, textbook evaluation, syllabus design, and pedagogy. The department also has a focus on English literature and the civilizations of English-speaking Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
- The Fellow will help student-teachers learn how to apply Algeria’s 2009 reform elements of English language training (focused on using a competency-based approach as well as project-based learning) in the classroom.
- The Fellow will work with teachers in training – either future middle or high school teachers.
- The Fellow will hold monthly workshops to address some of the problematic issues of English language teaching that ENS students will face in the classroom such as: managing large classes, developing assessment tools, motivating learners, using practical innovative ideas and techniques, lesson planning, developing projects, and developing communication skills.
- The Fellow will work with sample units of Algerian English textbooks to help train future teachers how to use these textbooks effectively. The Fellow is not expected to stick completely to the textbooks, but rather to train students to raise their consciousness and enable them to develop their own teaching materials while respecting the official syllabus.
- The Fellow will train student-teachers to develop supplementary teaching materials as needed to obtain learning objectives. Innovative ideas and creative teaching techniques are highly welcome. Given the fact that students cannot gain a thorough understanding of the teaching process during their short practicum, the Fellow should also provide students an opportunity to consider different styles of language learning and teaching approaches.
The Fellow may be asked to:
- Support and enhance the English Access Microscholarship Program by visiting classes, observing, and performing oversight as required by the program.
- Conduct teacher training sessions for non-Access teachers working at the Access schools and increase the U.S. Embassy’s visibility with the Algerian English Teacher’s Network.