Briana Rogers is currently working in Qarshi as an ESN Coach to strengthen teacher-training practices and build local language teachers’ English skills and teaching competencies. We asked Briana a few questions about her background, motivation for teaching, and interests in Uzbekistan. Briana shared her insights, ideas, and opinions with us, highlighting her thinking and teaching philosophy.
“As a trainer, I am always striving to keep informed about current trends and developments that help teachers and students succeed.” - Briana Rogers
Prior to coming to Uzbekistan, what educational teaching/teacher training experience(s) did you have abroad or in the United States?
Last year, I was focused on teacher professional development, working with primary school teachers in Tunisia on using a more student-centered and naturalistic approach to English teaching. Also, I was working with the American Spaces program, doing needs analysis and program recommendations for the American Spaces in Indonesia. Additionally, I wrote an English Programming Global Guidebook for American Spaces and a Project-Based English language course for American Spaces - both books should be out by summer.
What motivated you to work in education, either as a teacher or a teacher trainer?
I started teaching English as a means to travel. I found my passion when I started working as a teacher trainer for refugees. I was excited to learn and explore different methodologies and look at how as educators we can help people learn. As a trainer, I am always striving to keep informed about current trends and developments that help teachers and students succeed.
What do you think is the most important factor or skill for teachers to work toward in their professional development?
Confidence. Some teachers see new ideas or techniques and think those are interesting but lack the confidence to try something new. They do not believe in themselves, as educators, and do not trust themselves to make decisions on what and how to teach.
What advice or recommendation would you make to young teachers who are just starting their careers?
Explore and try new things. Do not be afraid of mistakes or that something doesn’t work. If something doesn’t work, then reflect on what didn’t work and why and try again. Don’t give up on something because it didn’t work the first time out.
What curriculum, book, course, or resource would you recommend to English teachers in Uzbekistan to refine or strengthen their pedagogy?
For teacher trainers, I have recommended ‘Teach English’ by Adrian Doff. It has very straightforward training ideas that work on basic skills which are often overlooked. For English teachers, I recommend ‘Keep Talking’ by Friederikej Klippel. It is great for communicative activities. The Oxford Basics series has quick and easy lesson plans. And, of course, the American English website has many excellent resources for teaching as well as free professional development courses.
What are your personal/professional goals that you hope to accomplish while you are an ESN Coach in Uzbekistan?
I want to strengthen my one-on-one mentoring skills. In the last year, I did teacher training but with large groups. I would like to hone my one-on-one skills and make more of a personal connection with teachers. I would also like to help with curriculum and program designs if at all possible.
What is the most interesting/surprising thing you have experienced or learned about Uzbekistan so far?
How open and friendly all the people are.
What is one achievement in your career that you are very proud of?
There are two things that I think stand out. First would be the ‘English is Fun Fair’ program I started in Malaysia. I designed and started an English carnival. I adapted traditional carnival games, so they had an English component. I then had a school host the fair (carnival); we had ten game booths. A year later we had over 20 fairs, some with over 300 students participating.
The second would be the Global Guide for American Spaces. I was very honored to be asked to write a guidebook based on the programming I had created for the American Space in Laos. It was amazing to have people see the work and effort I put into making a program successful and then have them want me to share it with the world.
To learn more about ESN Coach Briana Rogers and her dynamic teaching background, her full bio may be found here: https://www.esn-teachers.org/users/brogers