BIODATA. Jen MacArthur is the Regional English Language Officer (RELO) based at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia and covering the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic (Czechia), Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia (FYROM), Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Jen previously served as the RELO in Islamabad and Mexico City. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Jen taught English as a Second Language and Social Studies in the United States at the primary and secondary levels; pre-service and in-service foreign language teacher education courses at the University of Bucharest, Romania and through the Romanian Ministry of Education; English for Specific Purposes and Communication courses at the University of Vaasa, Finland; and served as the Language Program Coordinator for the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians (Maine). She has also taught evening adult education ESL/EFL courses and has facilitated numerous pre-service and in-service teacher education workshops on five continents. Jen studied European History and German at Bates College in Maine, and holds an M.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and an M.Sc. in Public Policy and Planning in Developing Countries. Jen tries to keep up her foreign language skills in German, Swedish, and Spanish. Born in Scotland, Jen calls Maine home.

PLENARY: The World is Our Classroom: Lifelong Learning On- and Offline

As teachers, we may be all too familiar with the feeling of being stuck in a rut, but perhaps we also remember (or still feel) our more proficient students’ experience of being trapped on a plateau, unable to push through to the next level. This session will both address online resources for teachers’ professional development available from the US Department of State’s Office of English Language Programs, as well as strategies (both digital and offline) for our learners to inspire them to keep climbing the mountain as autonomous language learners outside of language class and throughout life.