Leah Seupersad, 404-413-1354
ATLANTA—Nineteen faculty members from the University of Baghdad will complete a month of classes at Georgia State University this week focused on improving their country’s universities and teaching methods.
The International Research and Exchanges Board paired GSU’s Department of Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language with English language teachers at the University of Baghdad as a part of its University Linkage Program (ULP), coordinated through the U.S. State Department and the American embassy in Iraq.
|From left: Gayle Nelson and Eric Friginal, faculty in the Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL, and May Khadim Al-Khazraji from the University of Baghdad, are working together as part of a three-year, $1 million collaboration to help improve the Iraqi school's English language and literature programs.|
“This program displays GSU’s global commitment by helping to improve language teaching and English poetry and literature teaching,” said Eric Friginal, assistant professor of applied linguistics and ESL at GSU and the co-principal investigator on the three-year, $1 million grant. “To best teach English in the context of Iraq or Baghdad, it’s good for them to experience the culture here and interact with faculty in the United States.
Gayle Nelson, professor of applied linguistics and ESL and Director of International Programs for the College of Arts and Sciences at GSU is also a co-principal investigator.
The ULP promotes higher education as an important pillar in rebuilding civil society by bridging the gap between universities and the private sector in Iraq.
During the first year of the grant, GSU faculty worked closely with the University of Baghdad to exchange ideas and to review and revise its teaching curriculum. The partnership also includes online courses, career center development and social networking.
“We are working with people who are developing the future of Iraq and that is an honor for me,” Friginal said. “They are appreciative of seeing how we do things in the U.S. and we’re giving them cutting edge information with our new textbooks, teaching materials and engaging them in research.”
The University of Baghdad professors are attending their final week of courses at GSU this week, including lectures on technology and teaching, effective teaching approaches, and special topics in applied linguistics and literature.
“I like listening to the prominent lecturers here in order to get acquainted with methods of teaching English as a second language or as a foreign language,” said Sabah Mustafa, head of the Department of English at the University of Baghdad. “I plan to put to use what I have learned here in our classes at our university in Baghdad.”
Besides learning in the classrooms at GSU, the participants also are learning about U.S. culture by visiting malls and grocery stores, having a traditional American barbecue and attending an Atlanta Braves baseball game. This week they will visit The Georgia Aquarium on Tuesday and the Shakespeare Tavern on Thursday.
“I specialize in applied linguistics and this program is related directly to my teaching,” said Nidham Sheet Hameed, an English professor at the University of Baghdad, who has been teaching there since 1978. “I would like to know all the up to date topics and methods, so I can teach my students all of these things. We are very interested in touring the city. Everyone is very friendly to us.”
July 24, 2012