English Language Learning

English language programs are a valuable tool for engaging foreign audiences, strengthening long-term relationships and offering skills to host country citizens. American Spaces offer excellent platforms for the strategic use of English language programs to advance foreign policy goals. English language programs can expand the pool of young people, educators and other professionals who are qualified to participate in exchange programs to the United States. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) offer a wide array of resources that can support English language programs in American Spaces.

Resources for English Language Learning

The Office of English Language Programs in ECA provides programs and resources to support English language learning around the world. Its programs are administered by Regional English Language Officers (RELOs) stationed at U.S. embassies and consulates. ECA programs and materials are primarily targeted at the professional development of English language teachers, but can also be useful for programs with students. See the resources page of the ECA American English website for helpful guidance and materials. American Spaces can hold workshops on how to use the website as a learning tool and develop connections with other programs — alumni, conferences, trainings, the English Access Microscholarship Program, English language book clubs and conversation clubs, libraries, etc. — to highlight American English and share ideas and best practices on how to use it. For more information, contact americanenglish@state.gov. Connect through your local embassy or consulate with the RELO that covers your area to consult on how to best develop and offer English language activities as one of the five core programs at your American Space.

Trace Effects is collaborative English language video game experience for students ages 12-16. Participants learn English and explore American culture through puzzles, games and adventures in an interactive world. Gamers take a virtual journey with Trace, learning English and exploring U.S. locations such as New York, the Grand Canyon and Washington, D.C. Trace Effects explores themes related to entrepreneurship, community activism, empowering women, science and innovation, environmental conservation and conflict resolution. Trace Effects parties and/or contests make great activities. Trace Effects DVDs may be freely copied and/or installed on American Spaces computers.

Mobile Resources: ECA partnered with biNu and Worldreader to offer English language games and books through mobile technology. Trace Word Soup, a stand-alone game created as part of the Trace Effects suite, is available to mobile users via the American English Mobile App on the biNu platform designed for feature phones and lower-end smartphones. Several ECA graded reader ebooks for learners are also available on feature phones through the app. In addition, many English language learning titles are available in ebook format for mobile readers (Kindles and tablets). Learn more on ECA’s American English website or contact americanenglish@state.gov.

VOA Let’s Learn English

Let’s Learn English is a new course for English learners provided by Voice of America. Certified American English teachers designed the course for beginners. The course continues for 52 weeks.

Each week, there is a new lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. The lesson includes instruction in speaking, vocabulary and writing. There are also printable worksheets, assessments and lesson plans for individual learners and English teachers. VOA’s English learning resources also include VOA English in a Minute Videos and VOA Everyday Grammar TV.

Share America
IIP’s Share America is the U.S. Department of State’s platform for sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics like democracy, freedom of expression, innovation, entrepreneurship, education and the role of civil society. To help English language learners and foreign audiences improve their English reading abilities, the English Learning section provides links to English learning articles and Everyday conversations topics.  

English Teaching Forum is a quarterly journal for professional English Language Teachers. Articles are free to download from the extensive collection. Embassies may provide print versions to American Spaces.

Examples of English Language Programs in American Spaces

English Language Clubs run by volunteers are often some of the most successful and popular activities. They are effective, useful and can be easy to run. Exchange alumni, English teachers and other English speakers in the vicinity are an outstanding resource to facilitate regularly scheduled meetings of English language clubs. Along with discussion groups, creating a variety of interest-based clubs can allow American Spaces to reach a broad audience with diverse language levels: debate clubs, drama clubs, Toastmasters, Model UN clubs, music clubs and book clubs to name a few.

Guest Speakers provide a glimpse of American culture while giving visitors a chance to practice English listening and speaking skills with original American English speakers. Embassy officers, eligible family members, Peace Corps Volunteers and other Americans in the area are perfect candidates for English language cultural presentations in American Spaces. Successful presentations can range from leading a discussion about the democratic process to demonstrations on making chocolate chip cookies.

Interactions with U.S. Government Exchange Participants offer a great opportunity for an afternoon of “language exchange” in which host-country nationals speak in English while their American counterparts speak in the host-country language.