UMBC TESOL associate director wins 2015 TESOL International Association research grant

The TESOL International Association has announced the recipients of its 2015 research mini-grants, and UMBC’s Heidi Faust is the winner of a grant to research English teacher professional development through professional learning communities (PLCs).

Heidi FaustThe project, titled “Sustaining Professional Development through Professional Learning Communities: A Case Study of the Impact on Teacher Identity and Practice at a Peruvian Binational Center,” will investigate the impact of professional learning communities on English language teachers as the global demand for access to English increases and more teachers are transitioning from teaching English to adults to younger learners.

“Without knowledge to manage the developmental, behavioral, and cognitive demands of young learners, such teachers may experience high levels of frustration and likewise work very hard with limited results. They may not identify as English teachers of young learners and may lack the stamina to stay in the classroom with young learners,” a press release announcing the award stated.

As part of the project, Faust, an instructor in the education department, LLC doctoral student, and associate director of TESOL professional training programs at UMBC, will use archival course data, surveys, and analysis of teacher reflective journals to examine the sustainability of PLCs in enhancing the professional development and identity of teachers.

In addition to her work at UMBC, Faust currently coordinates online professional development for English teachers and learners from more than 100 countries. She is an English language specialist for the U.S. Department of State and the 2015–2016 Chair of the Intercultural Communication Interest Section. Read more on the TESOL International Association website.