© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UNC-Wilmington developing program to help students in Ukraine learn English as a second language

Kateryna Forynna (UNCW) and Iryna Simkova (KPI) pose for a picture at the Collaborative Online International Learning project in Ukraine. The two are working together to develop an ESL training program for Ukrainian teachers in Kyiv.
Kateryna Forynna
/
Submitted Image
Kateryna Forynna (UNCW) and Iryna Simkova (KPI) pose for a picture at the Collaborative Online International Learning project in Ukraine. The two are working together to develop an ESL training program for Ukrainian teachers in Kyiv.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington is partnering with the National Technical University of Ukraine to help high school students in Kyiv learn English.

The two institutions plan on doing so by creating a training program for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in the region. The program, called EmpowerED, will equip instructors already in the field with strategies to teach English to these high school students, using blended learning and inclusive teaching models.

Kateryna Forynna is the director of UNC-Wilmington’s English Language Center and will be in charge of developing the language part of the curriculum. She is from Ukraine and said there is a critical need for quality English language instruction in the region.

“It’s essential for Ukraine to have a curriculum that is global, that’s going to help children succeed in the global world” Forynna said. “Learning English and being able to use English in their daily and professional lives is essential to achieve this goal.

EmpowerED will also help instructors support internally displaced students mentally. UNC-Wilmington School of Nursing instructors will provide lessons on how to mitigate the emotional effects of the war by using trauma-informed strategies.

“They’re rushed to the basements every time they hear the air raid siren,” Forynna said. “... It’s been over 18 months since the beginning of the war. This is an ongoing conflict, an ongoing war. They could use additional strategies to help themselves cope with daily trauma.”

The program will start with 20 teachers. They will undergo training online for four months, with plans of having an in-person conference in 2025.

Daisyane Barreto is an associate professor of instructional technology at UNCW, who will teach the blended learning portion of the program. She said the hope is for this cohort of 20 to go out in their communities and train even more teachers.

“You give them the backpack with all the goodies, but they are the ones that are going to go there and actually share that information with other teachers,” Barreto said. “Then, they can see that impact within their own community.”

The goal is to reach at least 70 instructors total, which could help about 1,500 students. The U.S. Department of State awarded UNC-Wilmington $73,200 to design the EmpowerED program.

Brianna Atkinson is WUNC’s 2024 Fletcher Fellow and covers higher education in partnership with Open Campus.