Through the work of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Office of English Language Programs, the Public Affairs Sections at U.S. Embassies and Consulates across the globe, we are assisting young people around the world in their desire to learn English. Learning English offers access to information, education, job skills, and shared communication that is shaping the 21st century. For hundreds of millions of people, learning to speak and read English is a gateway into the global economy.
The U.S. Embassy in Mongolia is celebrating this year’s American English Month by highlighting the programs and initiatives taken to facilitate and enhance the learning and teaching of English language in Mongolia. There are variety of programs and resources available for the public, teachers, and children in Mongolia. The Embassy also takes extra measures to reach special targeted audiences who lack the opportunity to learn English or those who need significantly stronger English language abilities to pursue economic opportunities or advanced academic study.
What’s Available for the Public: the first stop that the Embassy offers for the locals and their desire to learn English are the American Spaces. American Spaces exemplify the U.S. commitment to a core tenet of democracy: the citizen’s right to free access to information. With over 700 Spaces in 169 countries worldwide, American Spaces provide welcoming environments where visitors can connect and learn about the United States. Currently there are three American Spaces operating in Mongolia, (1) American Corner in Ulaanbaatar inside the Ulaanbaatar City Public Library (since 2004), (2) American Corner in Khovd province inside the Khovd Central Library (since 2007), and (3) American Shelf in Uvs province inside the Uvs Central Library which was opened this year in Ulaangom. American Spaces are small American style libraries that operate jointly with the U.S. Embassy and the local public libraries and serve as platforms for providing information about the United States, policy, culture, and values; alumni activities, and information about study in the U.S. On English language learning/teaching, there are various clubs from English speaking, writing, reading, to board-games, and movie nights are available. Free internet access, English language library and reference services are open to people of all ages and backgrounds. Additionally, Embassy officers, visiting speakers, alumni, artists and cultural envoys all stop by at some point at the American Spaces to meet the Mongolian public.
Aside from American Spaces – a physical venue – there’s also a virtual venue which the U.S. Department of State created for learners and teachers of English, and it’s called “americanenglish.state.gov“. It is a resource center for teaching and learning about American English language and culture. This website provides a variety of engaging materials and resources for teachers’ professional development and for students in the classroom. Both teachers and students will find new ways to practice English and learn more about the United States. We encourage you to explore this website and check regularly for updates and new resources.
Follow the social media pages of American Spaces and AmericanEnglish.State.Gov to stay connected with the latest events and resources near you:
What’s Available for Teachers from American English: there are several programs targeted just for English teachers available from the Department of State. The longest running programs are English Language Fellow (ELF) and Fulbright English Language Teaching Assistant (ETA) programs. The ELF program found its current form in 2001, and has been implemented in 80 countries around the world. Up to date more than 1,000 EL Fellows have conducted projects in those countries focusing on Classroom Teaching, Teacher Training, In-Service and Pre-Service Training, Curriculum Development, Workshop and Seminar Design, Program Evaluation, Needs Assessment, Testing, and English for Specific Purposes (ESP). In Mongolia, every year 1-3 ELFs contract with a local host educational institution through the Embassy and come to Mongolia to work for 1 academic year (10 months). The National University of Mongolia, Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and Khovd University has been past hosts of ELFs. ELFs are teachers highly qualified U.S. educators in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL).
As for the ETA program, each year the Department of State sends more than 1,000 ETAs to host institutions abroad. These Teaching Assistants act as resources on American language, culture and society. It is also a one academic year (10 months) program that typically brings young recent college graduates who do not necessarily have formal training in teaching to Mongolia to support English teaching and learning at local institutions. Every year between four and six ETAs come to various parts of Mongolia to assist teaching and serve as U.S. cultural ambassadors. Mongolian University of Science and Technology, University of Life Science and Light Industry, Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dornod University, Khovd University, Defense University of Mongolia, Otgontenger University, Ider University, and Citi University have all been recent host institutions of ETAs. ELF and ETA programs are considered longer term programs that give direct benefits to their host institutions. In fact the current set of six new ETAs are currently finishing their orientation and training this month at the University of Humanities, facilitated partially through the instruction of an English Language Specialist.
There are shorter but larger scale programs that any teacher can apply and participate. Namely the English Language Specialist (ELS) program, English Teacher Mentorship (ETM) program, E-Teacher program and the English Teaching Methodology Workshops are currently active programs that are openly available for all. The ELS program had launched in 2016 along with the ETM initiative with ELS Barbara Stoff. EL Specialists are U.S. academics and professionals in the fields of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) to conduct programs overseas ranging from two weeks to four months. The ETM initiative was created to meet the significant demand for professional training of teachers in rural provinces of Mongolia. And this program has been aiming to enable Mongolian teachers to help with professional development of English language teachers in their home provinces. The program which provides support to beginning and struggling English teachers, and also trains Mongolian teachers to mentor other teachers using current methods of teaching. Since the program’s inception seventy-five Mongolian teachers have been trained across the country.
What’s Available for Children and Youth: The English Access Micro-scholarship Program (Access) was established in 2004 from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Office of
English Language Programs, to provide a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged 13- to 20-year olds through after-school classes and additional, more intensive sessions and activities. Usually the program is run for 2 years during the academic year and sometimes during the summer, as an afterschool program that’s held three times a week. There are over 500 alumni of Access in Mongolia around the Ulaanbaatar, Dornod, Khovd, and Bayan-Ulgii regions. The program is administered through a local provider/host institution with the oversight and support of the U.S. Embassy. Past providers have been the Educational Advising Resource Center (EARC), The Mongolian 4-H NGO, and the Mongolian Education Alliance.
Partners of American English in Mongolia: The Embassy partners with variety of local organizations that specialize in English teaching and learning. The metropolitan education department and local provincial education departments serve as first point of contacts for the Embassy to expand the reach and accessibility of the U.S. government programs. The English Language Teachers’ Association of Mongolia (ELTAM), the Mongolian Education Alliance, as well as the local public libraries also work closely and cooperatively with the Embassy on many different projects and events.
Special Purpose American English: In the recent past, the Embassy has been reaching out to those who are in special need to develop English Language Skills. Through the Local Grants Program of the Embassy, we have successfully implemented English language courses to meet the local demand.
In 2015-2016, a group of 40 immigration officers who work in Zamiin-Uud, the biggest border crossing in Mongolia to its south neighbor China, received English Language training to support their everyday need in communicating with visitors passing through the border. In 2017, English language training was conducted for 25 journalists so that they can tackle research and independent work understanding foreign news articles. Aside from this, through the Access program, during 2011-2013 the Embassy had also ran special English Language courses at School #116 and School #29 for vision impaired, and hearing impaired students, teaching them how to read braille, and use American sign language.
Through the English Language Programs Coordinator at Embassy Ulaanbaatar, the UB Public Library will also be holding a special English language training in September for a group of twenty journalists who have already participated in a month long English language conversation club early in the summer. Let’s also remember that of the 120 Peace Corps Volunteers currently I all parts of Mongolia, nearly 100 are charged with teaching English to middle school students.
As skilled English language educators and teachers remain in need in Mongolia, the U.S. Embassy will continue to pursue the advancement of English language programs and initiatives, while empowering the local teaching and learning capacity with the resources available through the Department of State. We value the partnership we have with the local organizations, and participants of the current programs, and look forward to the fruition of past initiatives in the future. May you wish to learn more about the English language programs or if you have questions/concerns regarding the programs and initiatives written above, please reach: https://mn.usembassy.gov/education-culture/english-language-programs/ or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.