English Language Specialist Mark Dorr spent three weeks providing trainings for high school and university in-service teachers who teach STEM disciplines at universities and high schools in Bishkek and Osh (Kyrgyz Republic) and for instructors/methodologists at the Institute of Professional Development in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Dorr also delivered a plenary speech at the Central Asian STEM conference in Almaty on April 20-22, 2018 which addressed practical ideas for the participants’ classrooms and planning as well as providing ideas for implementing the trilingual policy that is currently being put into place in schools in Kazakhstan. Dorr made himself available throughout the conference for discussions and questions.
Although the plan for each group varied somewhat, the basic organization of the sessions emphasized interactive, student-centered activities that integrated English language and STEM concepts. The trainings focused on blending skills, open-ended activities, critical thinking, creative approaches, and frequent and useful assessment. The participants benefited from more exposure to, and practice with, student-centered, active learning methodology and activities that tie together language and STEM content. The materials (including PowerPoints and Word documents) that supported the concepts and activities were made available to all program participants. At all the institutions in the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, the general attitude of ready participation and interest in new concepts was apparent. Participants not only learned in sessions but happily talked, joked, and asked questions outside of sessions as well. Dorr departed the project with the feeling that personal and institutional connections were strengthened, and teachers were provided with more tools and materials for their classrooms.
Mark Dorr holds a Master of Arts, English (TESL) from Colorado State University and has worked in the field of TESOL in the United States, Latin America, Central/Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. He has served as the Director of the University of Northern Colorado’s International Center, Assistant Professor at Szczecin University, Special Instructor at Colorado State University, and Instructor at Pikes Peak Community College. Mark was awarded a Senior Fulbright Lecturer grant in English teacher education and has been a USDOS Senior ESP Fellow (law and diplomacy), USDOS Senior ESP Fellow (law), USDOS Senior EL Fellow, and USIS Teacher Training Fellow.