English Language Specialist Megan Calvert Conducts Teacher Training Workshops in Bahrain Using the Color Vowel Approach
EL Specialist Megan Calvert spent two weeks in Bahrain delivering professional development “summer camps” for Bahraini public school teachers. The workshops focused on learning how to integrate pronunciation instruction into English language teaching using the Color Vowel Approach. Teachers developed their awareness of English phonology, particularly stress, rhythm, and intonation using a variety of interactive activities.
To support the teachers’ ability to apply pronunciation to their classroom activities and highlight another valuable teaching strategy, the workshops included a focus on Reader’s Theater. Instructors were guided through the process of using Reader’s Theater in the classroom using a script of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, then moved into more independent small group work on five additional scripts (The Giving Tree, Where the Wild Things Are, Miss Nelson is Missing, Chicka Chicka 123, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears). The week culminated with a performance of the selected scripts by each of the groups.
Lastly, this project encouraged mutual understanding and awareness of American language, society, and values. The activities modeled methodologies common in many modern American classrooms, including discovery and critical thinking, multimodal materials and techniques, effective pair and group work strategies, and continuous formative assessment. The storybooks provided a bit of American culture as well, as all the books chosen are familiar staples in many American households.
Megan Calvert has been teaching English language learners for about 18 years and has been training teachers for about 7 years. She holds a master’s degree from American University in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages and Linguistics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She has taught in France as a Fulbright-sponsored teaching assistant, in Kyrgyzstan as a Peace Corps volunteer, and in Turkey as an English Language Fellow. She currently teaches and writes ESL curriculum full-time for Workforce Development programs at Montgomery College, a community college outside of Washington, DC.