At the International University of Humanities and Development (IUHD) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, English Language Specialist Heidi Faust worked with 80 teachers and 80 student volunteers to improve their English teaching and speaking skills in order to prepare for the upcoming Asian Indoor Martial Arts Olympic Games (AIMAG). There were three components of her project. Faust’s main objective was to help teachers from IUHD and other universities around Ashgabat build curriculum for preparing English speaking volunteers to host foreign athletes and attendees of the AIMAG, set for September 2017. Faust modeled building lesson plan frameworks for each sport using a series of communicative activities. In the second part of the program, Faust observed four American English teachers to provide feedback on how to maximize student participation and use English in authentic ways that would help them communicate during the AIMAG. The third part of the program was providing a three-hour training for several English teachers at the U.S. Embassy’s International Resource Center.
Going forward, Faust emphasized the importance of performing a needs-analysis based on the specific duties required of volunteers at the AIMAG and of enhancing the existing curriculum materials to support preparation for using English and supporting foreigners within the context of the Olympic village.
Faust is the Associate Director of TESOL Professional Training Programs and the Center for Advanced proficiency in English at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. In addition to her work as an English Language Specialist for the U.S. Department of State, she has developed courses for the U.S. Department of Defense and facilitated E-Teacher courses for U.S. Embassies around the world. She is one of five recipients of the international TESOL Research Mini-Grants for her work on teacher training at a bi-national center in Peru. She has also worked as a trainer for the School of International Training and as a literacy consultant for WestEd.