Kristin Lems, Ed.D., who performs and records songs in addition to teaching at National Louis University, recently “starred” in two live webinars for the U.S. State Department’s “American English” project.
Nearly 2,000 teachers of English as a Second Language around the world watched live as Lems, an NLU professor of ESL and Bilingual Education, presented “Using Songs and Music to Teach English.”
Lems, who contracts with the U.S. State Department as an English Language Specialist, sang and played portions of two of her original songs during the webinars. A condensed version of them will be posted on YouTube’s American English channel.
Lems has a long history of going international and receiving distinctive honors. She received a highly prestigious Fulbright scholarship to Algeria to teach English as a Foreign Language in the 1980s. Because the Fulbright scholars program resides within the State Department, she feels that may have helped her when she applied to become an English Language Specialist at the State Department five years ago. The State Department requires a minimum of 15 years of teaching English and a terminal degree to apply for the designation.
In the time since her application was accepted, which was a significant honor, Lems also was honored with a second Fulbright. She traveled to Ulaanbatar, the capital of Mongolia, in Fall 2013. During both her Mongolia and Algeria Fulbright experiences, she taught teachers of adult students enrolled in universities or other advanced educational programs.
The State Department’s English Language Specialist program frequently puts out calls for its specialists to conduct programs, though many are in countries around the world. Lems taught one program in Chile in 2012 to teachers of elementary and secondary students, though her base in Chicago means she cannot often take part. But she was pleased to do the May webinar, “which was possible from my dining room table,” she quipped.