Faisal Shamali

ELT Instructor
Shunah Shamaliah, Jordan

Dear Joan [and] Teresa,

This is a late report about a one-day training workshop on November 14, held by the institute where I am teaching at. The name of the center is Pioneer Center for Gifted Students. It is located in Shunah Shamaliah. The workshop was about using games, songs and storytelling in teaching English inside the classrooms. It was for 30 highly motivated teachers of English in my region, Shunah Shamaliah (Jordan). I was one of the trainers in this workshop. It stressed the importance of the role of teachers in improving their teaching and learning styles, acquiring new skills and experiences, gaining self-confidence, developing their abilities to teach leadership, changing their traditional stereotypes and moving on to new interactive, communicative styles of teaching. In addition, it focused on the use of the Community English Program (CEP) which will provide an opportunity for educators, teachers and students on how to use the language and to acquire different universal cultures. Also, the program will focus on the language as a dialogue tool and communication in order to confirm how these issues impact on the performance of teachers and their students as well. I felt that this workshop is an authentic concentration on cooperative learning, self-learning, mastering skills, self-development, self-confidence and effective participation and, finally, how students [can] become competent in English language.

I did my best to improve and develop the level of education, teachers and students in Jordan especially in my region. Actually, this workshop is a real opportunity for teachers and students to acquire language skills and new teaching methods, learning styles, and exchange experiences and identify the difficulties and overcome them. All of this will reflect positively on the level of their students and their progress for the better.

I told the participants about my “E-Teacher Professional Development Workshop” at UMBC and that they did their best to develop me and 25 participants from around the world. I told them that before joining the TEYL course and E-Teacher workshop, I was a dead teacher using traditional ways of teaching English but now I am back to life teaching English with fun. I feel now that I am an iconoclast who wants to destroy the traditional ways of teaching English inside ESL classrooms in my region and generally in Jordan. In this workshop, I feel proud of what UMBC did [for] me and other teachers around the world as well. I feel excited and happy because I share with many teachers of English and supervisors of English, the Municipal, the Director of Education, and common people who are interested in learning English what I have learnt at UMBC. The participants got surprised of the great things I share with them and they have a lot of fun and learn something totally new such as using songs, games, storytelling, drama, etc.

Finally, I just wanted to mention that some songs such as “Peanut Butter”, “What's the weather?”, and “I am a little Teapot” (songs learned with Dr. Shin) were applied and sung in the training session. Teachers promised me to sing them with their students when they are back to their classrooms. All of them thank UMBC very much and they wish the chance to meet Dr. Shin, Teresa and others in person and train them.

    We sing together,
    Say U
    Say M
    Say B
    Say C
    What does that spell: UMBC
    What do you like: UMBC
    What do you like to visit: UMBC

Dr. Shin and Teresa, I want to mention there is a school visit to my classroom (two teachers and 30 students of different levels) and they enjoyed using modern ways of teaching English. I told them about the things I learnt at UMBC and I want to apply every single thing I got there to my classroom, teachers in the regions and share experience together. I want to tell you that I have a conference at ALC, American Embassy Amman, Jordan on 22 January and I have another conference in Egypt "NileTesol" on 1 February. In both conferences I have workshop presentations and sure I will mention UMBC to the audience.

Thank you, UMBC!
Thank you, [Joan] Shin!
Thank you, Teresa [Valais]!

Original letter dated: 21 January 2011. Republished on this website with author's permission: 08 February 2010.

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