Second Annual International English-Language Training Conference Concludes in Baku
On June 16, 2023, representatives of the U.S. Embassy, Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan, ADA University, and North Carolina State University inaugurated a two-day workshop and conference for more than 500 Azerbaijani secondary school English teachers. The conference, titled Strategies and Innovation in English-Language Teaching is a culmination of the third iteration of the 14-week, online Masters-level English Language Training Certificate Program for Azerbaijani teachers of English administered by North Carolina State University and funded by the U.S. Department of State. The event brought together teachers from several regions of Azerbaijan and was an opportunity for participants to learn about pedagogical best practices while fostering techniques to build a professional network of peer educators. They also discussed topics such as communicative instructional methods, using technology in the classroom, and curriculum development.
Approximately 200 Azerbaijani teachers of English completed the initial years of the program from 2020 to 2022, and another 100 finished this year’s program. Several other English teachers from secondary schools across Azerbaijan, many of them beneficiaries of other U.S. Embassy English language programming, also participated in the event. U.S. Embassy expressed their delight for the opportunity to support English language programming in Azerbaijan, contributing to the U.S.-Azerbaijan bilateral relationship and people to people ties, and underlined the motivation towards these professional development opportunities amongst the nation’s teaching corps.
In his opening remarks, Cultural Affairs Officer Salman Haji applauded the graduates of the program and commended the efforts of participants to enhance the English language instruction in Azerbaijani schools: “I am delighted that so many of the 100 teacher-students who completed the North Carolina State course are here today. Knowledge of the English language is an essential skill, and your role is vital for advancing the future generation of Azerbaijan onto the global stage. Completing a Masters-level course from an American university is also a tremendous achievement and you should be proud of your great work.”
Director of the Institute of Education Rufat Azizov added: “We have approximately 10,000 English language teachers in Azerbaijan’s general education system. Presently, the Institute of Education is engaged in the updating of English language textbooks, incorporating invaluable international expertise. Ensuring that our teachers possess the necessary skills to effectively deliver the new content is also of absolute necessity. That is why, the work accomplished over the past three years in terms of these teacher trainings you have organized, bears significant importance. We deeply value the collaborative efforts aimed at enhancing the professional competencies of our English language teachers.”
Vice Rector of Academic Affairs of ADA University Vafa Kazdal also noted: “As an institution that always supports educational development in the country, we are delighted to host the Second English Language Training conference at ADA University. The enhanced language knowledge, methodology and research skills teachers have acquired through this training will have a tremendous impact on thousands of students in their classrooms”.
Michael Bustle, the associate vice provost of global education and engagement at NC State applauded the efforts of all the participants: “Thank you to all the Azerbaijani teachers for your passion, your creativity, and your tireless energy in teaching the next generation in Azerbaijan. When young people learn to speak English and speak it well, it opens up the world to them. We at NC State are grateful for the opportunity to help contribute to the hard work you all put in to making your society and our world a better place.”
The U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan and North Carolina State University, with the support of the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan, intends to continue this successful project for its fourth iteration from 2023 to 2024. This partnership has resulted in significant advancements to the teaching of the English language across Azerbaijan and supporting Azerbaijan’s goal of increasing English-language fluency throughout the education sector. Several graduates of this and other English-language programs of the U.S. Embassy have successfully participated in international conferences, exchange programs, and achieved other noteworthy milestones.