English Language Specialist Wendy Coulson spent two months working with teacher trainers at the Queen Rania Teachers Academy in Jordan, both in-country and virtually, to develop a reading and phonics program for young learners. During the two-week in-country component of this project, Coulson collaborated with the coordinator of the English language training team and a training specialist to plan the creation of two reading modules and a teacher training manual for the virtual phase. She gathered information during meetings with staff by interviewing teachers, observing classrooms, participating in phonics workshops, and reading existing QRTA training materials in order to craft goals and objectives to design a well-rounded program for teaching reading.
One of the most impactful encounters Coulson experienced during her time in Jordan was with a third grade class of energetic boys as they read and responded to a letter she had delivered to them from a third grade class learning EFL in Central Mexico. They found they liked many of the same things such as football and McDonald’s. The boys were so enthusiastic about the opportunity to correspond with a faraway group of children that they shouted, “One, two, three, Mexico!” during their entire recess. Through the common language of English, these Jordanian schoolchildren were able to experience just how much in common they have with other children from a different culture who are growing up thousands of miles away.
Wendy Coulson holds a Master’s of Education degree in Bilingual Education, a Master’s of Arts in Applied Linguistics, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in French. She is a graduate of the Rotary Peace Fellowship at the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. She is the founder of Peace & Development Education Consulting which creates dynamic education programs for development projects using peace principles. Her main areas of focus are curriculum and lesson development, monitoring and evaluation, outreach, and instructor training on topics such as peace and environmental education, bilingual education, water and sanitation, health and basic literacy.