Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) is global alliance of Jesuit and like-minded universities, organisations and institutions and – more specifically – a collaborative effort of the Swiss, Austrian, Germany, Swedish, Latvian and Lithuanian Jesuits (forming the new Central European Jesuit Province). Collaboration is crucial to the realisation of our common goal of providing underserved communities with transformational higher education and fostering a more peaceful and humane world.
Our offer includes degrees, academic certificate and professional programmes, as well as a Global English Language (GEL) programme. The GEL programme is the first step on the learning pathway for many of our students. It brings a comprehensive high-quality, internationally known approach to learning English, using the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR) at six levels, from beginners to advanced level. There are currently over 2,500 JWL students studying English in 33 centres across 13 different countries worldwide.
We recruit English teachers from the local community, but it can be challenging to find ones with the necessary skills and training. Since 2017, 50 English teachers per year are given the opportunity to participate in Creighton University’s (USA) online teacher training course (150 hours over 8 months). Through course readings, discussions, lectures and reflection, students examine the beliefs and principles of a Jesuit education. They learn about different English teaching theories and methods, curriculum development, how to teach the different language skills effectively, classroom management, use of technology and how to create a student-centred classroom. The feedback from our teachers about this programme has been overwhelmingly positive and our teachers are able to put what they learn into practice in the classroom.
With Loyola Idiomas, part of Universidad Loyola in Spain, we prepare students for success in the online Cambridge Linguaskill Test – which they sit once they complete their English studies. Loyola Idiomas initially delivered two webinars to give our GEL teachers top tips on how to prepare their students, now being followed up with a comprehensive Linguaskill training pack (including lesson plans, handouts and self-study activities). This is expected to have a meaningful impact on the results achieved by our students in the test, increasing their chances of accessing our professional and academic programmes.
Last but not least, GEL teachers have an opportunity for further professional development through the GEL Buddy Initiative, where they are paired up with a native English teacher who becomes their mentor. This was initially implemented with a group of professors from Gonzaga University (USA) and has now expanded to a wider international network of native English teachers. The GEL teacher works with their buddy to identify an area of English teaching that they would like to develop. Over a 4-month period, they are guided through the project by their buddy, culminating in a videoconference presentation. This mutually beneficial experience enables our GEL teachers to develop teaching skills and improve their English and is enriching for the mentors who get a glimpse into a very different world.
These fruitful collaborations demonstrate that when we work together, we have an even bigger impact on bringing quality education to the margins. So do get in touch if you would also like to come on board; together we really will be able to transform the world through education!