Expanding the Map

Joan Kang Shin’s approach to teaching English as a foreign language embraces children and community on a global scale.

Imagine that you’re an experienced high school teacher in a country like Pakistan, Serbia, or Colombia. Your specialty is English as a foreign language. Your school doesn’t have many resources, but you have a good rapport with your students, and you’re proud of what you do.

Then one day your government announces that English as a foreign language (EFL) classes will now be required for all students beginning in elementary school. You are yanked from your familiar high school setting into a room full of squirming 7- and 8-year-olds still learning the basics of their native tongues. You are willing to give it a try, but you have no idea how to start.s14-feat-expanding

This scenario has played out in EFL classrooms around the world in the last decade, as national ministries of education introduce mandatory English classes at younger and younger ages. And a remarkable number of those displaced teachers – hundreds of teachers from more than a dozen countries – have turned to Joan Kang Shin ’99, M.A., instructional development, and ’08, Ph.D., languages, literacy and culture, for advice and support to make the transition.

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