Program Overview

Online Professional Development Courses will provide foundational knowledge around key concepts as participants view presentations and interpret meaning for their educational settings. Facilitated through PEARLL’s course platform, synchronous learning will include recorded and live video presentations, whole-group and small-group activities, chat discussions, and breakout sessions. Asynchronous learning will ask participants to explore resources that support the synchronous content, post reflections, and respond to discussion questions based on their professional goals.

A Virtual Teacher Exchange will empower English teachers in Russia to learn with U.S.-based Russian language teachers, providing participants with open and moderated interpersonal opportunities to make connections with American teachers as they explore a common topic of interest.

Authentic resources

Course IMarch - April 2024

Identifying, Adapting, and Using Age-Appropriate Authentic Resources will instruct teachers on how to find appropriate audio, video, and written material and how to tailor assignments to enable students to engage with and learn from the materials.

Authentic Resource Focus
  • Media & Information,
  • Empowering Women & Minorities,
  • Environment & Space.
Language Lesson

Course IIApril - May 2024

Integrating Culture, Content, and Language will teach educators how to integrate American culture, media literacy, and other topics into their English language class.

Integration in English Language Classes
  • by use of themes
  • authentic resources
  • appropriate learning activies
Professional development

Virtual ExchangeSummer 2024

Joint Online Course

This course will introduce Russian-based English teachers and US-based Russian teachers to selected UN Sustainable Development Goals and provide opportunities to consider how they can be integrated into a language curriculum. This will provide a practical application of their previous course learnings.

Joint Project-Based Learning Opportunity

Russia-based and US-based participants will use knowledge and skills gained in earlier online courses and work with counterparts in the other country to find authentic target language resources supporting the Sustainable Development Goal of their choice. This will provide a concrete opportunity to apply and reflect on earlier learning.

Course Observation

Russia-based teachers will remotely observe US-based language classes to see an American classroom model in action.

Course Outcomes

LEARN

Identify and adapt authentic sources

CONNECT

Participate in a virtual teacher exchange and online community of practice.

INTEGRATE

Allow your students to benefit from culture-infused language learning.

Program Staff

Thomas SauerProgram Director

Thomas_Sauer_0

Thomas Sauer is the codirector of PEARLL, a Title VI language resource center at the University of Maryland, where he has facilitated face-to-face and online annual professional development for language teachers. He previously worked as an independent consultant and a K–12 world language specialist for several school systems in Kentucky. Mr. Sauer taught German at the University of Kentucky, Georgetown College, the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, and Kentucky Educational Television. He is a sought-after workshop facilitator, curriculum developer, and keynote speaker. He previously served as an instructional lead for several successful STARTALK teacher programs. Mr. Sauer holds an MA in instructional leadership and school administration from Bellarmine University.

Kateryna KokhanDeputy Program Director

Kateryna Kokhan is a senior faculty specialist at the NFLC, where she has developed and taught an advanced Russian course for U.S.-based professionals and has trained and supported language instructors. She taught English for Academic Purposes at James Madison University and ESL at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she received her Ph.D. in linguistics. She is a native speaker of both Russian and Ukrainian who holds an MA in teaching English language and literature from Nizhyn Gogol State University in Ukraine.

Rebecca Damari

PEARLL_Damari

Dr. Rebecca Damari, codirector of PEARLL, holds an MS and PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University. She is the director of research for the NFLC, where she has conducted research projects on the professional learning needs of language teachers, the need for a multilingual workforce, and the demographics and equity of language immersion programs in Washington, DC, public schools. Dr. Damari has extensive experience with program evaluation and conducts program evaluations for private and charter schools. She has presented research at conferences including ACTFL, the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), and the American Association of Applied Linguistics and has twice been an invited plenary speaker for the Interagency Language Roundtable meeting.

Danielle RoeProject Manager

Danielle Roe’s work at the National Foreign Language Center since 2015 has included guiding the creation of language learning materials in over 100 languages and dialects, ensuring the quality and timely delivery of all project deliverables, and managing critical processes. Before working at the University of Maryland, Danielle served in the United States Peace Corps as an education volunteer. Ms. Roe holds a BA in International Studies and German from the Univerisity of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Guest Speakers

Laura TerrillInstructional Lead

Laura Terrill

Laura Terrill is a nationally recognized independent consultant who recently worked as the senior associate for professional development for the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. She taught French at all levels for 21 years before becoming the coordinator of foreign language and English as a second language and then director of curriculum for a school district in Missouri. She has taught methods courses in St. Louis and Indianapolis and continues to present at the local, state, regional, and national levels. She has served on the board of directors for the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and ACTFL. She coauthored the second edition of The Keys to Planning for Learning: Effective Curriculum, Unit, and Lesson Design. Ms. Terrill holds a BA in French from the University of Missouri and an MA in secondary administration from Northeast Missouri State University.

application

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Connecting Classrooms: A Community of Practice for Teachers in Russia and the USA at the University of Maryland. Please note that this program is designed for current Russian based English teachers and US-based Russian teachers! Participation is FREE.

Russia-based English Teacher process

Application

Complete the Google form below. Your responses will be automatically recorded and can be edited at any time before you hit the “submit” button.

Interview

Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in an interview and submit additional evidence from their current practice.

US-based Russian Teacher process

Application

Complete the Google form below. Your responses will be automatically recorded and can be edited at any time before you hit the “submit” button.

Interview

Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in an interview and submit additional evidence from their current practice.

Russia-based English Teacher Application
US-based Russian Teacher Application

Participation is very limited! Please complete your application as soon as possible!

Teaching Resources

frequently asked questions

Please review answers to the following frequently asked questions. Should you have additional questions please contact us at pearll@nflc.umd.edu

Connecting Classrooms

What is Connecting Classrooms?

Connecting Classrooms is a grant program funded in partnership with the United States Department of State in collaboration with RELO, the Regional English Language Office. 

What is the goal of this Connecting Classrooms program?

Connecting Classrooms will provide a professional development experience for 50 teachers of English in Russia. Educators enrolled in the program will be trained on how to include the use of authentic American resources in their English classes, how to integrate culture, content, and language curriculum, and will be provided with the opportunity to remotely connect with American teachers as they explore a common topic of interest through joint learning opportunities. 

When will this program take place?

Cohort 1:

  • Online Professional Development Course [March 2024 – May 2024]
  • Virtual Teacher Exchange [June 2024 – August 2024]

Cohort 2:

  • Online Professional Development Course [March 2025 – May 2025]
  • Virtual Teacher Exchange [June 2025 – August 2025]

How much does the program cost?

Connecting Classrooms is FREE. 

Can I participate in just one part of the program?

No, participants must commit to participate and complete all phases of the program (i.e., Online Professional Development Courses and Virtual Teacher Exchange). 

Eligibility

I currently teach a language other than English. Am I eligible to apply?

No, the Connecting Classrooms will provide a professional development experience for 25 teachers of English ONLY. Unfortunately, teachers of other languages are not eligible to participate.

I am an experienced English teacher from Russia, but I currently teach outside of Russia. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, you can apply.

Application

How do I apply?

Complete the application online: Fill out the Connecting Classroom application form that can be accessed on the Applications page. Your responses will be automatically recorded and can be edited at any time before you hit the “submit” button.

What is involved in the application process?

The initial application solicits information on the participants’ background and type of instructional setting, including student demographics. This is all submitted through the online application form. 

Qualified applicants will participate in an online interview to determine their level of commitment and to gain an understanding of their current level of expertise as they enter the program.

What does the application process look like?

Participants complete a multipart application process to ensure participants are committed to meeting the goals, while at the same time being representative of both the STARTALK languages and the diversity of the students who study them. 

  1. The initial application solicits information on the participants’ background, language, and type of instructional setting, including student demographics. Applicants also submit a link to a current lesson plan. 
  2. Qualified applicants participate in an online interview to determine their level of commitment and to gain an understanding of their current level of expertise as they enter the program. A pool of applicants will be preselected based on the review of application materials and the online interview.
  3. Preselected applicants must then submit a letter of support from the applicants’ direct supervisors. This letter will confirm institutional support for the expectations of the summer camp as well as pre-camp and post-camp activities and will indicate that the institution fully supports the  commitment required by the participant and the school.

Do I need to schedule an interview?

No, if your application meets all requirements, we will contact you via email to schedule a virtual interview.

How many participants will be selected?

Enrollment is limited to 25 educators per Cohort to allow participants to form a community invested in sharing expertise with others. The enrollment limit also creates an instructor-to-participant ratio that supports a coaching environment that is responsive to individual participant needs.

What is the deadline for applying to the program?

Applications will be accepted until February 10th –or until all openings are filled with qualified candidates.

This project was funded by the United States Department of State and was created in collaboration with RELO, the Regional English Language Office.