Riah Werner

Summary of Qualifications:

Creative and socially responsible English teacher and teacher trainer with six years’ international experience. Skilled at creating materials relevant to the local context and collaborating with local teachers. Passionate about using music and drama to engage students and develop fluency. Committed to advancing the profession through conference presentations and publishing.

  • Flexible, resourceful and independent
  • Teacher training and training of trainers
  • Materials development/textbook writing
  • Curriculum development/course design
  • Background in drama and the arts
  • Experience in Africa, Asia and South America

Languages: Fluent American English, Advanced Swahili, Intermediate French and Spanish, Beginning Korean, Turkish and Chagga


  • Master of Arts in TESOL, SIT Graduate Institute, Brattleboro, VT, May 2017
  • 150-hour Certificate in TEFL (with practicum), WorldTeach, Quito, Ecuador, August 2017
  • 80-hour Certificate in TEFL, i to i, Online Program, April 2013
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre, New York University, New York, NY, May 2009

English Teaching and Teacher Training Experience:

English Language Fellow Sep 2017-Present

National Pedagogical Institute for Technical and Professional Training/English Language Fellow Program, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

  • Develop a professional development program for ESP teachers, with bi-weekly workshops for in-service teachers at 10 schools and an online course accessible country-wide

  • Create locally contextualized, task-based ESP textbooks for use in technical high schools

  • Establish and coordinate the first national English teaching conference

  • Design and teach an English for Leadership course for a local entrepreneurship center

Global Education Fellow Dec 2016-Jul 2017

La Unidad Educativa Carlos Cisneros/WorldTeach, Riobamba, Ecuador

  • Taught English to 350 students in grades 6, 8 and 12 in classes of up to 45 students
  • Designed Multiple Intelligences-based activities to engage students and complement textbooks, leading to a 1.38 increase in student test scores on a ten point scale
  • Assisted local teachers with implementation of a new government curriculum through co-teaching, classroom observations and teacher training workshops
  • Collected student data to share with administration; conducted weekly parent meetings

English Teacher Jan 2016-Feb 2016

Banhuaihinfon School/World Education, Mae Sot, Thailand

  • Taught English to 90 students in grades 1-6, using an interactive, multimodal approach
  • Wrote songs, created visual aids and designed hands-on activities to supplement textbooks
  • Utilized the Language Experience Approach to develop literacy skills and build confidence
  • Collaborated with a local teacher to develop materials that support multilingual identity

English Teacher Jul 2013-Jul 2015

Moshi Regional Vocational Training and Service Center/Peace Corps, Moshi, Tanzania

  • Taught ESP to 300 second-year vocational college students (ages 18-40), incorporating material specific to their professions into reading, writing and conversation exercises
  • Designed and co-taught an English for Hospitality program for students working in local restaurants and hotels to improve their communicative fluency at job-related tasks
  • Started extracurricular English classes and tutored students, including TOEIC test prep
  • Collaborated with an NGO to distribute reusable menstrual pads to 400 female students
  • Trained local teachers in grant writing and project management, leading to the formation of a community organization which has given reusable menstrual pads to 2600 girls at 8 schools

English Technical Trainer May 2012-Aug 2014

Peace Corps, Morogoro/Korogwe, Tanzania

  • Designed and facilitated English and general education training sessions for 120 volunteers, covering lesson planning, teaching the four skills and working with limited resources
  • Wrote the Peace Corps English manual, which is distributed to all incoming volunteers, to equip them with grammar knowledge and culturally appropriate classroom activities
  • Restructured the training schedule to help staff develop Peace Corps Tanzania’s newly reinstated English Education program and assisted with training of trainers

English Teacher Jun 2011-Jun 2013

Mboni Secondary School/Peace Corps, Mboni, Tanzania

  • Taught English to 500 first year secondary school students (ages 12-17) in classes of 45-50
  • Planned lessons using student-centered and interactive methodology to build a solid foundation in academic English for students transitioning into English-medium schools
  • Adapted familiar songs to teach syllabus topics, increasing student’s retention
  • Developed library project to increase students’ access to books and agency over their own educations, resulting in the adoption of weekly library periods for each class
  • Ran English, Theatre and Life Skills clubs and organized extracurricular events, such as English days and competitions, to develop students’ language and leadership skills
  • Facilitated a bi-weekly teacher training group for 20 Tanzanian teachers and a week-long intensive training for 60 teachers, sponsored by the Regional English Language Office

English Musical Instructor Feb 2010-Feb 2011

Hello Kid Actor, Seoul, South Korea

  • Taught English through musical theatre at 2 elementary schools, 2 churches, 3 after school programs and a pre-school to 300-400 students each week (ages 3 to 18)
  • Taught first and second grade math in English using a Content Based Instruction approach
  • Designed lesson plans that used drama to develop communicative fluency and expression
  • Collaborated on EFL drama textbooks by researching age-appropriate theatre games and writing scripts and accompanying exercises, vocabulary lists and discussion questions
  • Directed children in English plays and musicals culminating in fully staged performances

Arts Education Experience:

Shakespeare Teacher Sep 2009-Jan 2010

Shakespeare for Homeschoolers, New York, NY

  • Taught 10 children about Shakespeare and developed imagination through creative role-play
  • Founded program, organized classes, developed curriculum and created teaching materials

Education Intern and Puppet Builder May 2009-Jul 2009

ArtistrYE, New York, NY

  • Organized and taught puppetry workshops for 50 underprivileged children, including ELLs
  • Designed and built puppets; obtained materials; instructed puppeteers

Assistant Director: Henry IV, Part One Jun 2008- Aug 2008

Young Shakespeare Players, Madison, WI

  • Directed 65 young actors (ages 6-18); ran rehearsals; oversaw a team of 5 assistants

Assistant Director: Advanced Teen Program Jul 2006-Aug 2006

Stella Adler Studio of Acting, New York, NY

  • Directed rehearsals for 15 teenagers, maintained script and provided administrative support

Program Assistant for After School Art Classes Jan 2005-May 2005

Sparkledog Productions, Madison, WI

  • Taught art activities and listening skills to 20 elementary school students, including ELLs

Community Service and Leadership Experience:

Newsletter Co-Editor Mar 2017-Present

TESOL International Social Responsibility Interest Section

  • Publish 4 themed issues per year, each with 4-7 articles and letters from the IS leadership
  • Solicit submissions, edit articles and communicate with authors and TESOL staff
  • Create an editorial calendar and develop a manual of procedures for the next editors

Curriculum Developer Jul 2016-Present

Kuleana Group, Marangu, Tanzania

  • Develop curricula and lesson plans for workshops for Tanzanian secondary schools on topics such as multilingual storytelling, drama, digital publishing and multiple intelligences

  • Provide long-distance support and assist local teachers with implementation

Student Advisor for Career Services Sept 2015-May 2016

SIT Graduate Institute, Brattleboro, VT

  • Organized Networking Night and Career Week; served as MA TESOL representative
  • Mentored international students on professional English in preparation for job interviews

Volunteer Advisory Council President/Secretary Nov 2011-Feb 2014

Peace Corps Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Led 7 member council; presided over meetings; kept records and wrote newsletter

English Education Volunteer Jul 2010-Jan 2011

PLUR (Peace Love Unity Respect), Seoul, South Korea

  • Taught weekend English classes to underprivileged children

Treasurer/Club Liaison Sep 2006-May 2008

The Womb (NYU Women’s Theatre Club), New York, NY

  • Planned and organized events; oversaw budget, fundraising and reimbursements

Conference Presentations:

Werner, R. (2018). Drama for Social Justice in ELT.

  • Workshop accepted for the 2018 TESOL Convention, Chicago, IL.

Werner, R. (2018). Multiplicity in TESOL: Multilingualism, Multimodality and Multiple Intelligences.

  • Research-oriented presentation accepted for the 2018 TESOL Convention, Chicago, IL.

Werner, R. & Njau, C. (2018). Empowering Tanzanian Students through Multilingual Storytelling, Drama and Digital Publishing

  • Practice-oriented presentation accepted for the 2018 TESOL Convention, Chicago, IL.

Werner, R. (2017). Multiple Intelligences in International TESOL.

  • Paper presented at the 2017 WorldTeach Global Education Fellowship Conference, Quito, Ecuador.

Werner, R. (2016/2017). Music and Movement in the English Classroom: Practical Implementation Strategies. 

  • Practice-oriented Presentation at the 2017 TESOL Convention, Seattle, WA.
  • Workshop presented at the 2016 MATSOL conference, Framingham, MA.
  • Learning Lunch presented at SIT Graduate Institute, Brattleboro, VT.

Werner, R. (2016). Expression through Drama: Linking Prosody, Embodiment and Emotional Awareness.

  • Workshop presented at the Sandanona Conference, Brattleboro, VT.

Research and Publications:

Werner, R. (June 2017). Addressing Linguicism and its Racial Implications in the Age of Nationalism. TESOLers for Social Responsibility. Available online.

Werner, R. (2017). Drama for Social Justice: Embodying Identity and Emotion in ELT. (Master’s Thesis). Brattleboro, VT: SIT Graduate Institute. Available online.

Werner, R. (2017). Girls’ Voices in Community Action Theatre in Tanzania. Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre and Performance, 3(2). Available online.   

Werner, R. (2013). English Manual for Peace Corps Volunteers: Practical Advice for Teaching in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Peace Corps Tanzania. 

Hwang H. M. (ed.) (2011). Hello Kid Actor: Learning English Through Musical Theater/Drama (Levels 1-6). Seoul, South Korea: Hello Kid Actor. (contributor)

Professional Affiliations and Service:

  • TESOL International: member since 2015
  • TESOL International Annual Convention: proposal/award reviewer since 2016
  • TESOL International Social Responsibility Interest Section: newsletter editor since 2017
  • NNETESOL (Northern New England TESOL): member since 2015
  • Young African Leaders Initiative: Mandela Washington Fellowship reviewer since 2016
  • MATSOL (Massachusetts TSOL): member from 2016-2017

Download as a PDF: Riah Werner’s CV (October 2017)