Enhancing English language teaching and learning overseas is central to the mandate of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to increase understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. English language programming also increases opportunities for collaboration and innovation for American citizens, organizations and businesses overseas, provides academic and professional opportunities to underserved communities abroad, and meets the high demand for English language instruction and guidance around the world.
ECA’s Evaluation Division contracted EurekaFacts to conduct separate evaluations of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) and English Language Specialist (Specialist) Programs.
Objective: These evaluations assessed the effectiveness of the programs in achieving ECA’s broader goals, as well as the specific goals of the Fulbright ETA and Specialist Programs. ECA’s Evaluation Division developed the following research questions to guide the evaluation.
- What are the programs’ impact on mutual understanding?
- What is the impact of the programs on English language teaching and learning?
- How does the program impact ETAs’/Specialists’ professional knowledge, expertise and development?
Method: The evaluation used a mixed-method data collection strategy that incorporated both a quantitative online survey and qualitative in-country interviews to evaluate the Fulbright ETA and Specialist Programs. The survey questionnaire covered ETAs’and Specialists’ in-country experiences as well as post-exchange activities, including educational plans, professional development, and sustained relationships and linkages with host country citizens upon return to the United States.
The evaluation team also conducted interviews in Chile, Thailand, Turkey, and Russia with teachers and administrators at secondary schools, universities, and other institutions visited by Specialists and where Fulbright ETAs were placed. Interviews were also conducted with Fulbright Commission staff, Ministry of Education officials, Regional English Language Officers (RELOs), Embassy Public Affairs staff and other Embassy English language programming staff.
EurekaFacts compiled the data and wrote the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program Evaluation Report (June 2014) and the English Language Specialist Program Evaluation Report (May 2015).
Outcomes: Through these evaluations, ECA gained knowledge about the impact of mutual understanding, the impact of English language teaching and learning, and the impact on the participants’ professional knowledge, expertise, and development.
About the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program
The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program sends U.S. citizens abroad for yearlong assignments as teaching assistants in classrooms around the world. Fulbright ETAs, who are generally graduating college seniors from around the United States, share their knowledge and experiences of the United States and U.S. society and culture while supporting English language learning through their presence as native English speakers. At the same time, ETAs grow and learn from intensive cross-cultural interaction and an international education experience.
About the ECA’s English Language Specialist Program
The ECA’s English Language Specialist (Specialist) Program recruits U.S. academics and professionals in the fields of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TESOL/TEFL) and Applied Linguistics to conduct 2-week to 5-month programs overseas. English Language Specialists assist U.S. embassies in delivering and maintaining quality English language programming, conducting workshops and seminars, speaking at TESOL/TEFL conferences, visiting classrooms, and providing technical language assistance to universities, government entities and many other audiences.