Creating Bright Futures Through English Teaching

Posted by Marti Estell
March 22, 2013
English-Language Educators Use English Teaching Forum in South Africa

From Algiers to Zimbabwe, we hear how people want to learn English. Children in orphanages in Mali, law enforcement professionals in Indonesia, and women entrepreneurs in Pakistan all share an interest in speaking English. Here at the State Department, we understand how English fluency lets people take charge of their futures: it builds leaders who can do their part to promote more prosperous, equitable, and stable societies.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is helping millions of people around the world create brighter futures by providing access and improving the quality of English learning. We support teachers and learners because English proficiency opens doors to new economic, cultural, and educational opportunities. With the help of Regional English Language Officers (RELOs) around the world, the Office of English Language Programs manages a wide array of innovative programs and resources.

Thousands of young people have participated in our English Access Microscholarship program that provides after-school English classes to disadvantaged students in countries around the world. Over the past 10 years, the English Access program has changed lives and provided young people who complete the two-year program with the skills they need to succeed in higher education and business. We also support teachers of English around the world in many ways, and I'm happy to hear how so many teachers are benefiting from the excellent virtual exchange programs we offer each year. In the past year, we have organized over 30 English teacher-training webinars and E-Teacher courses that will reach over 18,000 teachers.

We also recently launched our new American English website ( -- a one-stop shop for free, high-quality materials that teachers and learners can download. The site also provides virtual training tools and a powerful search feature to locate the right resources from our library of 1,000 books to read, songs to learn, and games to play while practicing English. We also launched a new Facebook page that provides a wealth of resources for classroom use and self-study.

I have been pleased with the tremendous response to the Trace Effects, an innovative, new 3-D video game. The game is a valuable classroom addition for teachers or for students looking for a fun way to practice English and learn about American culture along the way. Trace Effects will soon reach 100,000 games played through the online version. An additional 50,000 DVDs of the game are in circulation across the globe.

Of course, face-to-face encounters are critical to breaking down cultural barriers and building relationships with citizens abroad. I am so proud of our English Language Specialist and Fellows programs, which allow Americans to engage with teachers overseas and promote mutual understanding, doing their part to contribute to a global community of networked English language professionals.

Anyone can use our free materials. Please take some time to check them out on, share the site with friends, students, and colleagues, and tell us what you think on our Facebook page.



Hamilton A.
Arizona, USA
March 22, 2013

Hamilton A. in Arizona writes:

Do American kids, born with English, have a brighter future then? There are Americans with college degrees in English Language still jobless. Would we say that we have created a bright future for them through their mastery of English? William Kamkamba was 15 years old and could barely speak English when he harnessed the windmill to produce electricity in an entire village and environs. Richard Turere was 13 when he invented the light strategy to repel lions away from his father’s cattle. Take technology to these people and not English. There are many Algerians, Zimbabweans, Malians, Indonesians, and Pakistanis who speak good English to help with the technology. You should stop wasting money on lingual imperialism!


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