TC-Tunisia Foreign Language Teacher Education Project

TC-Tunisia Foreign Language Teacher Education Project was a two-year initiative that was designed by Columbia's Teachers College, in collaboration with Columbia Global Centers | Tunis, the U.S. Department of State, and the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education.

The goal of the project, which began in February 2021 and lasted until December 2022, was to build up the capacity of Tunisian educators and support young learners throughout Tunisia.

Columbia University and the Ministry of Higher Education developed a national English language curriculum model to train and equip two cohorts of 30 university teachers in ten graduate schools spread across the country.

As part of this project, participants received four professional development modules which equipped them with in-depth knowledge in planning and assessment, teacher education, integration of knowledge and practice, and more; these valuable tools helped them serve as mentors for future English teachers in elementary school. 

The program’s first year came to a close in December 2021, and a virtual graduation ceremony was held to commemorate. The second cohort for the program in Tunis started in January 2022 and ended in December 2022.

In 2022, participants of The TC-Tunisia Project (TCTP) were finally able to meet in person for a field trip around Tunisia and participated in a roundtables workshop at Columbia Global Centers | Tunis. On November 3, 2022, a reception held at Le Central marked the end of the program.

The TCTP 2022 field trip was a two-week program conducted in person in Tunisia, with a two-fold goal:

a) to complement the virtual program by providing in-person instruction to participants in their immediate, local contexts; 

b) to gauge the impact of the virtual program on participants’ instructional practices, as part of TCTP’s accountability plan.

The field trip took place from October 24 to November 4, 2022. A four-member delegation from Columbia University’s Teachers College, led by Professor ZhaoHong Han, Director of TCTP, arrived in Tunis on October 23, 2022, to implement the two-week program.

During the second week of the field trip, the TC delegation hosted, at Columbia University Global Centers | Tunis, four roundtables respectively on the themes of a) The Current Curriculums for TEYL and for Preservice Training of Teachers of TEYL in Tunisia; b) The Infrastructure for TEYL in Tunisia; c) TEYL Professional Development in Tunisia; and d) Evidence-based Practices (School-based Research; Teachers’ Exploratory Practice). Each roundtable featured two or more presentations by participants of TCTP. About 25 participants gathered together in Tunis for two days and engaged in spirited discussions on the issues surrounding the four themes. And in between the roundtables, the TC delegation advised second-cohort participants on their on-going capstone projects.

The TC-Tunisia Project (TCTP) was concluded on November 3rd, 2022 with a reception hosted by Columbia Global Centers | Tunis with the presence of the US Embassy of Tunis, the TC delegation, and the participants who took part of the program.

The hard work and accomplishments of TC-Tunisia Project participants were celebrated on December 7 and 8 during the second annual TC-Tunisia Symposium on Teaching English to Young Learners. Spanning two days, this symposium featured six presentations on Day 1, and five presentations, including a keynote talk, on Day 2.

Members of the 2022 cohort, project faculty and staff, and representatives from project stakeholders gathered on Zoom on Friday, December 9, to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the project participants. The graduation ceremony kicked off with a warm welcome, as well as tear-jerking remarks, from project director Professor ZhaoHong Han. After viewing a documentary of the cohort's journey through the year, a panoply of speeches were delivered by representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, Columbia University Global Centers | Tunis, and Columbia University's Teachers College; project instructors Dr. Vivian Lindhardsen, Donna Brinton and Dr. Sarah Creider; project participants Najah Ghozlani. Cyrine Kortas, Basma Bouziri, Gouta Chater, Yagouta Beji, and Salma Ghaoui; among others.

This bittersweet occasion marked not the end of the TC-Tunisia Project but the opening of a new chapter for those involved in the project.

To capture the journey of these participants during the 2022 iteration of the TC-Tunisia Project, Ashley Beccia, Project Assistant, created a documentary. The 50-minute video contains myriad precious moments from the year, ranging from Professor Han's opening remarks at the orientation session in January, to questions posed by instructors in the four learning modules and participants' thoughtful responses, and congratulatory remarks shouted in unison at the graduation ceremony in December. To view The 2022 TC-Tunisia Project Documentary, please click here

If you are interested in learning more about the workshops held and articles related to the TC-Tunisia Project (TCTP), please take a look at the links below: