FEBRUARY 24, 2023 — UTSA College of Education and Human Development Associate Professor M. Sidury Christiansen has been selected by the U.S. State Department to serve as an English Language Specialist for a virtual project to help teach Russian faculty, researchers and their students about using technology to present research.
Christiansen, associate professor of applied linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), begins her three-week virtual project, Technology in the Dissemination of Research and Writing for Publication in Russia, on March 3. Her project is one of about 240 supported by the State Department’s English Language Specialist Program this year.
“Collaborating with students and scholars abroad is important to foster international cooperation, exchange of ideas and intellectual growth,” Christiansen said. “Working with people from different parts of the world enhances our research.”
Christiansen specializes in the research and teaching of digital multimodal literacies among multilingual populations. Her publications discuss the various ways digital literacy across multiple platforms can enhance writing and language programs to improve writing skills in a second language.
As part of the Russian program, Christiansen will run a series of workshops on modern trends, such as graphics and video, in presenting abstracts and academic research data. The project will help researchers learn more about emerging trends for improving their presentations, specifically ways to present abstracts using multimodal tools.
“I am excited to be part of this project because it provides an opportunity to promote the use of multimodal and multilingual resources to disseminate research and increase accessibility to diverse audiences,” Christiansen said. “This project is important because it takes an essential step toward making scientific information accessible to a broad range of audiences, promoting scientific literacy and curiosity.”
The English Language Specialist Program is one of the best opportunities for leaders in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages to create meaningful and sustainable changes in the way English is taught abroad, according to the State Department. Through projects developed by U.S. embassies in more than 80 countries, English Language Specialists work directly with local teacher trainers, educational leaders and ministry of education officials to exchange knowledge, build capacity and establish partnerships that benefit participants, institutions and communities in the U.S. and overseas.
Since 1991, the English Language Specialist Program has supported in-country, virtual and hybrid projects in which hundreds of TESOL scholars and educators promote English language learning, enhance English teaching capacity and foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through cultural exchange. During their projects, English Language Specialists may conduct intensive teacher training, advise ministries of education or participate in high-level educational consultations. They also offer presentations at regional, national and international TESOL conferences. In return, the program provides professional development opportunities to help participants experience different cultures and build skills that can greatly enhance their TESOL careers at home.
English Language Specialists are among the more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Specialist Program is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University.
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