“My fellowship will be remembered for the magical moments, magical experiences, but, above all, the magical people, who embraced me not as a foreigner— but as family,” Matt Gleason stated.
Matt Gleason was an English Language Fellow (2018 – 2020) in the Philippines. His primary duties included teaching undergraduate and graduate university courses to English language majors. Some of the courses he taught included Socio-Linguistics, Reading Development, Instructional Material Design, and Foundations of Language Education. Nestled among classes were opportunities to brainstorm with colleagues to develop curriculum, share classroom strategies, and create innovative educational activities.
Gleason’s secondary projects included teacher-training, conference plenaries, MOOC camps, and outreach activities. Topics he frequently presented on were global leadership, educational technology, cross-cultural communication, literature appreciation for adolescents, and vocabulary games.
As a self-proclaimed “techie,” Gleason has always been fascinated by the cross-over between technology and education. This interest has naturally led him to explore the use of educational technologies for TESOL and language learning processes. During his fellowship, Gleason took advantage of his fascination with technology by developing a Digital Teaching Toolbox Workshop series. Through this series, he taught local in-service and pre-service teachers how to seamlessly integrate effective and easy-to-use digital learning tools into their classrooms. Some of these tools included interactive digital platforms for games, classroom management, and “think-pair-submit” activities where students used their smart devices to input responses in real-time. Gleason also taught teachers how students can use speech-to-text devices to practice pronunciation, make voice overs of famous video clips to practice speaking, and use selfie challenges to practice grammar points.
Gleason’s fellowship led to countless personal and professional “firsts.” Professionally, he delivered his first ever conference presentation, let alone first plenary speech, at an international conference on “The Changing Landscape of Language Education” at the prestigious Manila Hotel. This was soon followed by his first ever teacher-training workshop on integrating technology into the language classroom, which soon came to be a regular part of his fellowship.
Another first was teaching at the university level – a big jump from the elementary and middle school hallways where he began his teaching career. At the end of his fellowship, Gleason collaborated with a local colleague at his host institution to conduct a research study on content-based instruction, which led to his first peer-reviewed academic publication. Gleason stated, “Overall, this fellowship has been a big boost to my resume. I hope to use this experience to jump into the international student services sector and support the academic success and cultural immersion of international university students studying in the U.S.”
Matthew Gleason was an English Language Fellow in the Philippines, 2018-2020, in Batac City and Tacloban City. He received his MA in TESOL in May 2018 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Gleason honed his teaching skills as an English Language Teacher at elementary and junior high schools in Tokyo, Japan, and at Towson University in the United States. Gleason is an AmeriCorps alumni: he completed a year of national service through UMBC’s Choice Program, in which he mentored and empowered high-risk youth in homes, schools, juvenile courts, and local communities.