LTS

Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

January 12, 2018
by zachp
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Student Spotlight: Lee Huddleston (2017-18)

It is my pleasure to introduce 2017-18 LTS MA student Lee Huddleston

Lee at Lago Querococha near Huaraz in the Andes Mountains of Peru

Hi Lee! Please tell the world a little bit about yourself.

Hello, my name is Lee and I am a student in the Language Teaching Studies Master’s Degree Program at the University of Oregon. I was born in Ketchikan, Alaska where my Dad worked in a logging camp, but I was raised in Oregon. I love the outdoors: Hiking and camping are major hobbies of mine. I also really enjoy reading (particularly non-fiction history, as well as a variety of fiction books). I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Spanish at the University of Oregon. My first experience abroad was with a high school exchange program in Costa Rica. Then as a senior in college, I studied abroad for a semester in Peru, working simultaneously as a volunteer with at-risk youth in Pachacamac, Peru.

And I know you were in the Peace Corps–how was that experience?

Lee on the picnic island Aferen with his host family taking a rest in between hauling rocks for a project on Moch Island

I served for two years (2014-2016) in the Federated States of Micronesia. My permanent site was Moch Island, a small outer island in the Mortlock island group. Looking back now, I was rather cavalier in my decision to accept that two-year placement after only a brief google search of my future home, but I have never regretted that decision. It turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

The impact of this decision hit me the moment I found myself waving good-bye to my new friends from the shore of the mile-long island that would be my home for the next two years. As the motorboat carrying staff members and the other volunteers departed for the next island, I could not help but think about how I was 250 miles away from the nearest place I had ever heard of.

Lee with other Peace Corps volunteers and community leaders conducting a “Camp Boys to Men” summer camp

The Peace Corps was an eye-opening experience in many ways. It allowed me the chance to take on responsibilities, deal with challenges, and learn from mistakes and successes. On the whole, I loved my experiences on the island–they have left me with friends and family who I will treasure for the rest of my life. The skills I learned were equally formative as I navigated challenges of integrating myself into a community, learning skills for the workplace, defining my place in the culture and adapting to the idea that the borders between those things are not always so well defined in small communities.

My job on the island was as a co-teacher, teaching full-time with a local partner. This aspect was a great strength of the program mission as it allowed for mutual learning and cross-cultural dialogue between myself and my local counterpart. As a Peace Corps volunteer I also engaged in a number of secondary projects on my island, including teacher workshops, two summer camps for which I wrote up grants and helped conduct. I also helped conduct student study sessions after school for college entrance exams, and helped with the preliminary stages of building a basketball court for youth development on Moch. It was this experience teaching that stoked my passion for education, bringing me to the point of entering this master’s degree program at UO.

Wow, very cool! And how has the LTS experience been treating you?

LTS has been great so far! My fellow cohort members, the staff, and the courses have been sources of knowledge, wisdom, and enjoyment beyond my expectations.  My favorite aspect of this program is how I am able to put into action what I am learning through my work as a graduate employee at the AEI, and other professional development experiences.

What are you hoping to learn/gain from the program?

I joined this program hoping to build a theoretical foundation in current Second Language Acquisition pedagogy and put that into practice with a strong hands-on application of what I learned. While the Peace Corps was a valuable experience, I feel like before continuing on as an English teacher, it is essential that I gain the knowledge, skills, and legitimacy as a teacher that a Master’s degree in the field will give me. This will help me along the way to becoming a better, more prepared, and more qualified teacher. The way I see it, I owe it to my future students to be the best teacher that I can be.

So you mentioned you are a GE (graduate employee) at the American English Institute–what is that like?

Lee with his AEI Discussion 5 class

Yes, working as a GE at the AEI has been a great experience. Last term I taught a Discussion 5 course. Being able to apply what I learned in my courses to an actual teaching context and vice versa was extremely beneficial. I had never before worked in a university-level context, so to be able to do so in an environment as supportive as the AEI has been a real privilege. Being able to bounce ideas off of colleagues, having a supportive supervisor,  and having all of the AEI resources and facilities available to me are all great benefits of this experience. There have also been challenges, for example implementing a brand-new curriculum that was just developed by the AEI, as well as navigating the ins and outs of teaching a discussion course.

What are your goals for teaching at the AEI this term?

This term I will be teaching a new class, Listening 4, and this should bring with it new challenges that will dictate my goals for this term. One of my goals will be to better utilize Canvas and computer assisted learning to make my course more useful and engaging for my students. Another goal of mine is to try new things in the classroom, varieties of activities, and strategies to address student motivation and communicative competence. After all, one of the great aspects of this opportunity is the chance to try new things, develop myself as a teacher, and learn from these experiences.

Any final thoughts?

I am very thankful for this opportunity to be once again at the University of Oregon to continue my education. I feel like this program is very unique as it focuses on the teaching of not just English, but other languages as well. This brings a diversity to the program that makes it a pleasure to participate in.

Thanks so much for taking the time for this interview! Hope you have a great Winter term!

December 15, 2017
by Trish Pashby
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Program Change: First Term LTS Courses Going Fully Online in Summer 2018

Starting in Summer 2018, the first term of the program will be completely online. All three of the first core courses will be taught via the internet. The new online schedule will be as follows:

  • LING 510 Language, Mind and Society (Weeks 1-4, June 25-July 20)
  • LING 540 Linguistic Principles of Second Language Learning (Week 5-8, July 23-August 17)
  • LT 535 Language Teaching Methods (Weeks 1-8, June 25-August 17)

Visit the LTS website for more information.

Each will provide a flexible, interactive learning experience. In addition to daily opportunities throughout the summer term for interaction with course instructors and classmates, students will also meet other LTS faculty and continuing LTS students through various online social activities.

We asked LTS Program Director Dr. Keli Yerian about the rationale for making this change.

What was the inspiration for the program to shift to all online courses for students in their first term? “Research on online teaching over the past decade has shown us that well-designed online curricula can be highly effective, and our LTS faculty have already designed and taught similar online courses in the past with great success. Also, because only the first Summer term will be online, LTS students will still have plenty of opportunities to have an immersive, face-to-face experience in the program during the rest of the program, so we are getting the best of both worlds. We are very excited about this development.”

Keli Yerian outside of the Laboratoire Parole et Language in Aix en Provence, where she is currently on sabbatical.

What advantages will going ‘all online’ in the first summer bring to LTS students? “The main advantage will be that LTS students can reduce their expenses because they will not be obliged to be on the University of Oregon campus during the first Summer term (the months of June-September). They will not need to pay for travel to or lodging in Eugene, which can reduce costs for out-of-state and international students in particular.”

LTS students and faculty also weighed in on this switch to online courses in the first term. In a recent survey of the program’s current students, several confirmed that having their first term online would have provided some welcome flexibility. One student described it as a “huge advantage, especially for international students. The students don’t have to arrive on campus until Fall term starts and can study at their leisure- at home, in another country, etc. For me, it would have been really nice to have this option.” Another explains, “I think it may help international students of L2 English adjust to the curriculum if they are able to focus on their studies without having to adjust to living in a new country at the same time.”  A third student noted that in addition to being able to “take part in the summer courses from anywhere in the world, which most likely will save money, students will also see how online classes are successfully conducted.”

Dr. Julie Sykes will be teaching the online LING 540 Linguistic Principles of Second Language Learning.

LTS faculty are excited about the change. Dr. Julie Sykes (who serves as director of the Center for Applied Second Language Studies) is the instructor of LING 540 Linguistic Principles of Second Language Learning. She reports that she is “looking forward to implementing some interactive pedagogical ideas that work really well online.” Based on her extensive experience with online learning, she describes one of its key strengths as providing “more opportunities for individualized attention.” She explains “I really find a lot of value in community building and spending time together learning…[there are] many opportunities for interaction between students as well as with me.”

The online courses will serve as an interesting complement to the variety of offerings in the on-campus terms of the program.  Most of these are face-to-face courses using a ‘flipped learning’ approach, which allows students to maximize in-class time for student-centered workshops. And  LT 608 Computer-Assisted Language Learning, offered as a series of 1-credit courses throughout the program, is delivered in a blended format (partially face-to-face, partially online).

Another innovation to the program will take place this summer. In addition to the online switch, there will be a curriculum change. LING 594 English Grammar, formerly taken by many students in the first summer, will be replaced with LING 510 Language, Mind, and Society. We asked Dr. Yerian for more information about this.

What was the motivation for the change in curriculum from the English Grammar course to Language, Mind, and Society? “Because some of our incoming students do not have a prior background in linguistics, we decided that we needed to devote more attention to linguistics in the first term, which is what we are doing with the new course Language, Mind, and Society. However, this course is not a typical introductory level course – it is a graduate level course that connects linguistics closely to both sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics. Thus it will be highly engaging for our incoming students who already have a background in linguistics as well. Another reason for replacing English Grammar is that not all students in our program plan to teach English, so some of our students were already exempt from this course. LTS will continue to integrate a focus on pedagogical grammar throughout the program.”

Dr. Mokaya Bosire is developing LING 510 Language, Mind, and Society.

The primary developer of Language, Mind, and Society is Dr. Mokaya Bosire of UO’s Linguistics Department. He is particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity to explore themes related to language and social class, speech impairment, machine languages, linguistic profiling, universality of language, and forensic linguistics. Questions guiding some of the course content include the following: How does human language differ from other forms of communication? How does machine language (and assistants like Siri and Bixby) work? Where is language stored in the mind and in what ways? Why does some speech sound gendered? What is slang? What’s the best way to learn a second language? With its emphasis on applying up-to-date findings in the field of linguistics to current trends and events in society, this course promises to be an excellent addition to the LTS program.

LTS faculty Tom Delaney, Robert Elliott, and Julie Sykes discussing online summer courses.

Prospective students can find additional details about the program on the LTS website, including guidelines for the application process. The priority deadline for applying is February 1, 2018. The changes described above should appeal to a number of people seeking an MA in language teaching.  Dr. Sykes told us: “I’m looking forward to working with a great new cohort of students.”

December 2, 2017
by Trish Pashby
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Robert Elliott’s Trip to Warsaw for Endangered Languages Conference

Robert Ellliott regularly teaches the LT 608 CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) course in the LTS Program. Next term (Winter 2018) he will also be teaching LT 535 (Language Teaching Methods) and creating an online version of this course to be offered in Summer 2018. In addition to LTS, Robert works at University of Oregon’s Northwest Indian Languages Institute (NILI), through which he takes some very interesting trips…

Dzien dobry

Dzien dobry, (good day/morning/afternoon/evening), a standard greeting in Polish. In November, Robert traveled to Warsaw, Poland. We asked him a few questions to find out what he was doing there.

Why Warsaw?

Old Town Warsaw on Polish Independence Day

Janne Underriner, NILI Director, and I were invited to a small conference and workshop on Endangered Languages that was hosted by the Engaged Humanities project at the School of Liberal Arts, University of Warsaw. I had recently met Justyna Olko, the faculty member in charge of this project, at another conference in Barcelona, Spain earlier in the spring. She was very interested in the work of NILI and the endangered language context of the United States and Pacific Northwest. She is the administrator of a European Union grant that is working on community-university partnerships in language revitalization, something they call Participatory Action Research (PAR). PAR is a relatively new idea in the European endangered language

Justyna Olko, host of the conference, helps open a photograph exhibit on endangered languages.

landscape, and Justyna was impressed by the fact that NILI has been doing similar type of work for some 20 years. So we had a paper accepted for the conference and she invited us to come and speak for a half day at the pre-conference workshop.

Who attended this conference?

Largely there were two groups: those working on endangered languages in Europe, and those working on endangered languages in Mesoamerica. The Europeanists were working on languages like Franco-Provençial, Basque or some of the Polish minority languages like Wymysorys. A young 20-something man named Tymoteusz Król was exposed to the Wymysorys language by his grandmother and has become a leader in the revitalization of this language. The Meso-Americanists were working on languages of Mexico and Central America, such as Nahuatl, K’iche’, Mixe, Mixtec, Mayo, and  Nahuat-Pipil. There was so much to learn, both by similarities and by contrasts, to other endangered language situations. Also attending were some notable names in the field, including Leonora Grenoble (University of Chicago), Peter Austin and Julia Sallabank (SOAS University of London), and Colette Grinevald (University of Lyon 2).

Robert (right) socializes with Michel, Janne, Benedict, Marion and Colette after finishing their presentations.

What did you talk about?

For the workshop, we talked about three things: the context of language revitalization in the Pacific Northwest, Language as a Protective Factor for Native Youth, and a Case Study of a Youth PAR Project over time.  For the conference we took a close look at PAR in action as it developed for a class Janne taught that was developed in partnership with tribal groups and the UO. We also had meetings about collaborations on a book with Justyna and our Polish colleagues, and we met with our French colleagues from Lyon, (Colette, Michel Bert, and Benedict Pivot)  to map out some research we are doing.

Who else did you meet with while there?

Robert (center) meets with Krystyna Luto (right), faculty of the Warsaw Medical University, along with one of the department’s Fulbright English teachers to discuss collaborations with the UO.

While in Warsaw I met with Krystyn Luto, faculty member of the Warsaw Medical University. She gave me a tour of the building she works in, the new library, and some of the classrooms and offices of her department. Afterwards, we went to a crepe cafe near her office, and discussed some possible collaborations between the English classes she is in charge of and UO’s American English Institute. The most interesting thing about the medical school is that students can take classes in either Polish or English. Many international students come to Warsaw Medical University to get their degree, and typically they, along with some Polish students who are interested in working internationally, may choose to take their courses in English. Students are usually studying to become M.D.s, nurses, or laboratory technicians, and are typically quite serious about their studies and focused on their need for language.

What did you think of Warsaw?

Modern shopping centers and skyscrapers.

Well first off, I had heard Poland is a beer country and indeed I was not disappointed. I had little to no expectations about the city of Warsaw before going. I had lived in Sweden in the 1990s, and people would travel to Poland for shopping because it was cheap. But my stereotype of a poor, former eastern block country was shattered by this trip. The city was amazing, with tremendous architecture of both “old looking” (Warsaw was completely devastated during WWII and all the “old” buildings are actually reconstructions built post war) and the utmost modern skyscrapers standing side by side, and fantastic murals. There are numerous parks around the city to explore, and the Vistula River runs right near the center and old town. Fantastic museums: The ones I saw included the POLIN Museum of History of Polish Jews, the Resistance Museum, the Neon Museum, and the Chopin Museum. The transportation system – one ticket gets you subways, trolle

Polish desserts! The apple is actually chocolate.

ys and buses – was quick and easy to navigate. The beer was fantastic! And the food was out of this world delicious! The Polish cuisine is very unique, a mixture of northern farm grown produce, bountiful aged meats and cheeses, fresh fish from the Baltic and delicate pastries and desserts, gourmet chocolates, all prepared with extraordinary detail to flavor and presentation. And it was cheap! I never once ate a polish sausage. Oh, and did I mention the beer?

Would you go back?

Yes, for sure, but preferably in the spring or summer.

From the Museum of Neon, where former signs from the Soviet era Warsaw are now being collected.

November 26, 2017
by zachp
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Student Spotlight: Alexis Busso (2017-18)

It is my pleasure to introduce you to 2017-2018 LTS MA student Alexis Busso!

   Alexis at the Great Wall of China.

Hi Alexis! Please tell the world a little bit about yourself:

Hello, my name is Alexis and I am in the current cohort for the LTS Master’s program. I was born in Cambodia but grew up in Bandon with my 4 sisters, who like me, are all adopted. I left this tiny town to begin my undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon 4 years ago, where I did my B.A. in International Studies and Spanish. It was through this program that I was exposed to my first abroad experience. In the summer of my sophomore year, I did an internship abroad in Beijing, China and that Fall, I studied abroad in Queretaro, Mexico. Since then, I have traveled to various countries in Europe, taught English in Colombia, did research in Russia, and most recently, I just got back from Chile. I feel very fortunate for the ranging international experiences that I have had the opportunity to experience. I hope to be able to return to my home country, Cambodia, after the completion of this program next summer. During my free time, I enjoy hiking, running, doing yoga, cooking and reading.

Alexis with her Family

Have you been enjoying the LTS program so far?

Yes! The LTS program has been such a wonderful experience for me. The reason I decided to stay at U of O for another year and pursue an M.A. is because it encompasses my love of traveling and teaching. I have met some of the most passionate and intellectual scholars. My favorite aspect of the program is the tight-knit community of my cohort and professors.  Most of our professors wear many hats and are involved in other departments. They are constantly informing us of teaching and professional development opportunities. Through their support and guidance, they have motivated me to excel in my courses and ignited my curiosity for the foundation of my M.A. project. More to be revealed about that later…

     Alexis in the Amazon Rain Forest

What are you hoping to learn/gain from the program?

From this program, I am hoping to gain a ticket to anywhere in the world and be able to pursue a career that I love and enjoy. I hope to implement the knowledge that I gained from lesson planning and classroom management to theoretical frameworks and research on cognitive development. Furthermore, I hope to gain lasting relationships with my colleagues and professors.

And I know you are a GE (graduate employee) at the American English Institute this term, how has that experience been?

Alexis in Greece

My GE position at AEI has been incredibly inspiring and enjoyable. Currently, I teach a listening skills class for level 5 international students. The entire curriculum for the Intensive English Program (IEP) at the American English Institute has been redesigned and implemented just this year. Thus, everything has been a learning experience. Prior to this position, I had never taught a class that was focused on one particular skill of language learning. Listening, is said to be the second hardest area to learn after speaking. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the wonderful program, staff, and my students for this experience that will shape my teaching for years to come. This GE position reaffirms why I started this program and inspires me for what’s to come.

Any final thoughts?

Don’t be afraid to experience the things that scare you or make you feel uncomfortable. It is during these moments, that we learn and grow the most.

November 19, 2017
by Trish Pashby
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LTS Alumni Presentations at 2017 ORTESOL Conference

This year’s ORTESOL (Oregon Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) conference was held November 10th and 11th at the University of Oregon. The American English Institute hosted the two-day event in Agate Hall, which turned out to be a fine venue. The conference featured two plenaries on the theme of “Supporting Diverse Learners” and over 50 sessions facilitated by presenters from all over Oregon and beyond. Several LTS alumni were among these presenters. Read on for highlights from some of their sessions.

Maggie Mitteis and current LTS student Lee Huddleston

In a well-attended and highly interactive session titled “Teaching Tools for the Resilient Classroom” Maggie Mitteis (2016) introduced favorite activities of hers and fellow Peace Corps teachers accustomed to teaching in settings with limited (or no) technology and requiring much flexibility on the part of instructors. We played variations of the word game Taboo, an adaptation of Jenga that included language practice, and  a few raucous rounds of “Stop the Bus.” A group competition using letters from Bananagrams was also a big hit. All of these games were highly motivating and adaptable to almost any language classroom.  Note: These days Maggie is teaching locally at both Lane Community College and Downtown Languages.

Misti Williamsen

Misti Williamsen (2010) shared ideas for motivating students to read in her presentation “Going Beyond Summary: Engaging Students in Extensive Reading Through Projects.” She has found success inspiring lower level students at the American English Institute’s Intensive English Program to complete books through active participation in projects. In this session, Misti shared four of these: drawing character maps or timelines on posters, creating their own quizzes, videotaping a “commercial” for a book, and writing stories combining characters from multiple books. Misti brought along actual examples of all of these. Posters drawn by students covered three walls, and the audience was treated to the screening of several creative and highly entertaining student-made videos.

Liatris Myers

Liatris Myers (2015) presented “Digital Literacy Instruction in ESOL Courses: It’s Easier Than You Think”, which was inspired by her recent experience of creating a course and materials for teaching technology to low-level learners at Chemeketa Community College in Salem.  This session included step-by-step guidelines for approaching the design of this type of course, interacting with students, and creating learner-friendly materials. Admitting that she never considered herself particularly tech-savvy, Lia attributed her current comfort with using technology in the classroom to the four 1-credit CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) courses she completed while studying in the LTS program.

Jeff Magoto, Bené Santos, Joliene Adams, and Emily Masucci

Another popular session at ORTESOL was “The In-Class Flip: A Case for More Inclusion and Success” presented by Bené Santos (2009) and Joliene Adams (2017) with Jeff Magoto (faculty) and Emily Masucci (Anthropology Department graduate student), which featured a videotaped example taken directly from Bené’s Portuguese class at University of Oregon a week before (the clip is also part of a documentary by Emily Masucci about Bene’s life ). The example showed how to successfully implement blended learning by creating a classroom environment where students can go at their own pace in terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Joliene Adams presented the software H5P, which is a great interactive video tool teachers can use inside or outside the classroom.  In the second half of the session, participants had time to interact with H5P, engaging in blended learning themselves, and discussed ways they could blend/flip their own classrooms.

Other presentations by LTS alumni were “Creating ESL Textbooks Using Open Source Materials and Digital Tools” Sean McClelland (2011); “What We Teach: Conundrums in English Variation” Kelly McMinn (2007); and “Facilitating the Development of Argumentation Across Programs” Ilsa Trummer (2011).

LTS faculty also presented at the conference. Jeff Magoto is mentioned above co-presenting with Bené and Joliene. Laura Holland’s session “Working Backward Propels our Students Forward: Small Changes < Big Effects” covered (1) teaching pronunciation of individual words and practicing stress in longer sentences, (2) analyzing what makes 2 essay introductions “good and “bad,” (3) using film clips to explore why native speakers chose the forms they did to express the messages they are trying to convey, and (4) Backward Design for curriculum development.

See the full conference program here: ORTESOL 2017 Program  

November 11, 2017
by zachp
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Student Spotlight: 2017-2018 LTS Student Yumiko Omata.

I am thrilled to introduce you to current LTS student Yumiko Omata!

Hi Yumiko! Please tell the world a little bit about yourself:

2017-18 LTS student Yumiko Omata.

I am originally from Japan. After high school, I moved to Tokyo to study art and to work for ten years. In 2000, I moved to Austin, TX to study English for a year or so but ended up staying here for 17 years instead. I met my favorite person/best friend (my husband) the next morning after arriving in Austin! He was one of my housemates and actually the first person I talked to in the US. Life is fun and crazy! Since then, I have lived in several cities in the US and studied painting at the University of Arizona. From 2010-2011, I also lived in South America (Argentina and Ecuador) and enjoyed traveling and learning Spanish. After returning to the states, I settled down in Portland, OR and found a job teaching Japanese and I fell in love with teaching. Art (painting, ceramics, making furniture, etc.), travel and language are my passions. Gardening as well! I miss my garden, chickens, and honey bees left behind in Portland very much.

 Aw, what a lovely story! So, out of all of the programs in the world, how did you end up at LTS?

It is a great question because this blog was the beginning of everything! I was planning to apply to the TESOL program at Portland State University and even took a prerequisite course in summer 2016. I had a few concerns about PSU and started searching other programs on the West Coast and found the LTS blog featuring Keisuke (2015-2016 LTS alumnus). I directly contacted him and he kindly shared his experience in the LTS program and gave me great insight. Then, I visited the program on December 1st (almost a year ago!) and met our director, Keli. Keli warmly welcomed me and made a wonderful impression and let me observe a couple of classes. Also, the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL) is another reason I chose LTS. EALL offers the oldest, most well-established Japanese courses in the U.S, and I was hoping to be a part of EALL in order to explore the academic field. The program, people (Keli, Laura, and LTS students), and a possible opportunity to be involved with EALL convinced me I had to be here.

Well LTS is very lucky to have you! And have you been enjoying the program so far?

I am very happy with my decision. I like that the LTS program helps me establish both practical and theoretical foundations and it is very organized and tailored to guide us to find our own path as a language teacher/educator. As I mentioned, people (Keli, Trish, other LTS professors, and the 2017-2018 LTS cohort) are wonderful. I appreciate the faculty members’ enthusiasm and willingness to communicate and support us; they are very approachable. Some of my cohort are from other countries, and I remember my old days as an international student and they definitely inspire me. I was hoping to meet people who teach or are interest in teaching foreign languages other than English, but I definitely enjoy learning EFL/ESL teaching perspectives since it has vast, great resources that I can apply to my field.

What are you hoping to gain from the program?

I am hoping to establish a solid theoretical and professional foundation in second language acquisition and language pedagogy. At the same time, my interest of study is Japanese pedagogy, so it is nice for me to have opportunities to take Japanese and East Asian linguistic courses while studying LTS.

Great goals! Speaking of, I know you’re teaching Japanese this term, what has that experience been like?

It has been wonderful and rewarding in many different ways! This is my first term to teach Japanese as a graduate employee (GE) and it has given me great insight into JFL at an institution of higher education. Before I started this term, I was kind of worried about how to find a balance between my busy academic life as a student and teaching as a GE. Now I feel I found a good rhythm bouncing between the two. I am currently teaching a JPN 101 (first year Japanese) discussion course. I enjoy seeing how students break through language barriers and become Japanese language speakers. They are fun to teach, and I am very impressed by their progress. Interactions with my students, Japanese instructors, and colleagues have been enhancing my life, and I feel that I am part of an academic community. I am quite busy, but it has been a driving force to help me achieve my goals in the LTS program. In the past, I taught Japanese at a small community-based language center in Portland, OR for four years, but my students were all age groups except college students. I started noticing differences between the learners/ institutions and that has been helping me expand my perspective as a teacher quite a bit. One of my GE duties is a weekly observation, and it is an important and great benefit for me to observe courses taught by highly experienced Japanese instructors. I am able to grasp their techniques and teaching styles, which inspire and broaden my future vision of myself as a teacher.

Sounds like a wonderful and rewarding experience indeed! Any final thoughts?

If anyone is interested in the LTS program, don’t hesitate to visit us. Eugene is beautiful, tranquil, and a perfect place to study.

Thanks so much for sharing your incredible journey Yumiko!

 

November 1, 2017
by Trish Pashby
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Faculty Spotlight: Lara Ravitch

This week, we are pleased to feature UO faculty member Lara Ravitch, who works with the LTS program in a number of ways: guest lecturer in LT courses, MA project committee member, and advisor to the teachers of the Chinese Club at Edison Elementary School. Read on to find out more about these and many other interesting projects she works on here at UO and beyond.

American English Institute faculty member Lara Ravitch wears a number of hats at UO, including several in the LTS program.

What is your position at the University of Oregon?

I’m a Senior Instructor in the American English Institute (AEI). I am back in the classroom now after several years coordinating our Intensive English Program

What courses do you teach?

The AEI has several different programs with a wide variety of courses, and it’s expected that any given faculty member will be able to teach most of them with minimal lead time, so I teach lots of different things! I’ve taught upper-level reading and writing, lower-level speaking and listening, and student success in the IEP. I’ve also taught an eLearning course for educators around the world looking to improve their skills as teachers of young learners, and I’m currently teaching AEIS 112 and 101.

What was your path to the University of Oregon?

I majored in Russian, so after graduation from college, I wanted to spend some time there, and the easiest way was to get a job teaching English. After two years teaching in a variety of contexts in Moscow, I realized I enjoyed this work but I needed more training, so I returned to the US to get my MA in language teaching at the Monterey (now Middlebury) Institute of International Studies. During my MA, I focused on teaching both English and Russian, as well as concentrating in Language Program Administration. After graduation, I adjuncted for a year in Monterey before moving back home to Chicago, where I taught ESL and English Composition at Harry S. Truman College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. It was an incredible experience that gave me opportunities to work on committees re-developing teacher education for the State of Illinois, improving language assessment protocols across the city, and supervising about 50 adjunct faculty in my department. The students were incredibly diverse, coming from Nigeria, the Philippines, Ukraine, India, Ecuador, Sudan, Bulgaria, Mexico, Vietnam and many other countries. I learned a ton from my amazingly dedicated colleagues and students, but after almost 10 years in the city, we decided we needed a change of scenery and looked for opportunities out west. I was excited to come to the AEI at University of Oregon because of the high level of professionalism. After working in a department where part-timers outnumbered full-time, tenured faculty by more than 2:1, and where the teaching was so intensive that few availed themselves of the limited funding for professional development, I was excited to come to an institution where all of my colleagues would be full time (and thus actively invested in developing programming and supporting students), and where professional development was both supported and expected.

What is your connection to LTS students & what do you enjoy about working with graduate students?

I have worked with LTS in several capacities. I’ve done quite a few guest lectures in various classes, teaching lessons on bilingualism, lesson planning, and outcomes-based curriculum design. I love helping to give LTS students a sense of how their learning applies in various teaching contexts.

As IEP coordinator, I also worked with LTS students to match them to observations and opportunities for research. I loved reading research proposals and am always curious about the results of the studies!

In addition, I’ve been a reader for two MA projects, both dealing with Russian teaching. I was extremely impressed with both products, which filled gaping holes in the field and would be of great use to practicing teachers.

Last (but definitely not least!) I advise the LTS students who teach the Chinese Club at Edison Elementary School. Three LTS students take turns being the teachers of about 10 young children who sign up to spend their Friday afternoons learning Chinese. I meet with the LTS student teachers once a week to discuss the previous lesson and plan the next one, and then whenever possible, I observe the classes and give feedback. It’s a delight to work with such creative and diligent student teachers and to watch the children participating actively and enjoying Chinese language and culture even at the end of a full week of school!

What other projects are you involved in?

I’m participating faculty in the Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (REEES) program, and this winter, I’ll be teaching a Russian Theater class, which includes a big final performance in Global Scholars Hall! In the summers, I run a Russian language immersion program for 8-18-year-old campers in northern Minnesota. I’ve also just begun a second MA in Special Education here at UO! I do a lot of presenting and teacher training, generally on topics related to experiential learning, alternative assessment, LGBTQ issues in language teaching, and learning differences.

What advice do you have for future language teachers? 

Our field is broad, our learners are diverse, and there is always opportunity to try something new. Don’t worry about mastering it all now – instead, adopt a reflective, lifelong-learning approach and focus on continuous improvement!

October 27, 2017
by zachp
0 comments

Student Spotlight: Shayleen EagleSpeaker and Brittany Parham

It’s my pleasure to introduce two current LTS students: Shayleen EagleSpeaker and Brittany Parham. Both come to the LTS program via the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI).

Please tell the world a little bit about yourself:

My name is Shayleen EagleSpeaker (Wasco, member of Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs). My heritage language is Kiksht. Our people are from the Columbia River, both sides of the river. My grandmother was a fluent speaker of Kiksht and she passed away in the mid 1990s. Today there are no longer fluent native speakers of Kiksht, but I am learning. I heard about the LTS program through Northwest Indian Language Institute about 5 years ago. I graduated from UO with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Printmaking in 2014 and I returned to LTS in summer of 2017 to further pursue a career in teaching Native languages.

My name is Brittany Parham. I was born and raised in Eugene. I received my BA in Linguistics from the University of Oregon in 2016 and have  been studying Ichishkíin for 3 ½ years.

Have you been enjoying the LTS program so far?

Brittany: Yes, of course!

Shayleen: LTS is awesome! I am so glad to be in a program that is flexible for Native American languages. Its also a great cohort, all the people have a very nice quality that is great for the sense of community. I think it is interesting to experience how we relate through our coursework, and watching each other go through this learning process is pretty wonderful. I have learned so much already, and it is really expanding my understanding of how to teach second languages.

What are you hoping to learn in the program?

Brittany: I want to learn some better tools to use in order to support Ichishkíin learners and teachers. I hope to create more curriculum and materials for the classroom, create teacher training resources, and learn the methods and techniques to be an effective language teacher.

Shayleen: I am hoping to learn a lot more Kiksht language and to network with people and organizations that support the kind of work that I am trying to do. I want teachers of Native languages to have opportunities for success. What I have learned in the past is that when Native language teachers are supported in their communities, and supportive of each other, they really seem to enjoy their work and their working relationships. I have found a lot of positive energy and joy in these relationships and I want to make a positive impact by being supportive of others.

And I know you both work closely with NILI…What exactly is NILI and why is it so important to you?

Robert Elliot (LTS and NILI faculty member)
introduces NILI to the LT 608 class

Brittany: NILI stands for the Northwest Indian Language Institute. It was formed in 1997 by tribal requests for Native language teacher training programs. NILI provides training in applied language training in linguistics during our yearly Summer Institute, as was as providing consultations to tribes in the areas of language program design, assessment, policy, linguistics, language documenting and archiving and grant writing. NILI is important to me for so many reasons! I love being a part of something as important as NILI, and being surrounded by so many amazing and influential people. I would not be where I am today without the guidance and influence of NILI!

Shayleen: I first became involved in NILI because I was taking Chinuk Wawa (Columbia River trade jargon) language classes at Lane Community College. My instructor for that class was Dr. Janne Underrinner, who is Director of NILI and pretty much of the main founders of NILI. I was really inspired by what NILI had to offer for two reasons: 1) I had been wanting to learn my heritage language my whole life and I never expected in a million years that I would have the opportunity to do so in an American college or university, and 2) the way that NILI functions is very culturally sensitive and they also do an excellent job at it. After graduating from LCC with an associates degree I participated in my first NILI summer institute, then transferred to University of Oregon where I majored in Fine Art but also took 2 years of Ichishkíin (Yakima Sahaptin) language. Both Chinuk Wawa and Ichishkíin are heritage languages to me. I am Wasco, and my people historically have been very multi-lingual. Our primary language, however, is Kiksht (Upper Chinookan) and I am learning that language now, through independent study at UO. This is literally a dream come true for me! I feel like NILI was a huge catalyst in making that happen for me.

So what projects are you hoping to work on?

Shayleen: Right now, I have some ideas about what I want to do while Im in the LTS program, but I also realize I need to keep my options open and be open to learning because there may be opportunities that I dont know about yet. I am hoping to gain more administrative skills because a lot of Native language teaching requires opportunities to teach and in my context, I believe I will have to be creating some of those opportunities for myself and I hope to be able to do that for others as well. I am also really interested in research opportunities for my language, including linguistic research. Right now, I need to get a grasp on fundamentals of linguistics, which is what I am working on in courses Im taking. That involves a lot of reading and background knowledge. Beyond that I think Ill be open to different project ideas that I will learn about throughout the LTS training.

Brittany: I am hoping to work on creating an online resource for teachers of the language to connect, collaborate and share resources more easily.

How can people help with the preservation and restoration of these incredible languages?

Brittany: People can help by educating themselves about the indigenous peoples locally and beyond. And everyone is welcome to volunteer at our Summer Institute!

Shayleen: I think just people sharing an interest of these languages helps tremendously. When people take the time to learn little bit about Native language preservation and restoration, they are doing a service to the larger community. The Pacific Northwest is historically one of the most linguistically diverse places in the world, so when people support these languages, they are supporting the cultural diversity of this beautiful place. The rate of decline of these languages is one of the fastest in the world as well, so we stand to lose about half of our languages in the United States by the next 50 years. In other words, we are at the top of the list for having the most to lose with regards to languages lost. I want people to know about that and share that information in a positive and supportive way, because the time is right now to make efforts to preserve these languages. Preservation includes documentation and training for archival work, and ideally, teaching it to children who can grow up with Native languages, which is a method called language revitalization. Promoting these activities is the best way to help, whether that means sharing information about opportunities and activity with your networks, or becoming involved in the Native language community, or even by sharing this background info with people who might not know about it. Also, support any education programs that may support Native language revitalization. I think Oregon just passed a law about teaching appropriate Native American curriculum, but that could also extend into languages, where culturally sensitive and appropriate.

Any final thoughts?

Shayleen: It has been really nice to meet people in the LTS program who are from all different walks of life. I have been able to share information about Native languages and to hear the feedback that most people are very interested in it and I really appreciate that! It has been nice be a part of the LTS community as a forum to talk about various language contexts and I think we will all benefit greatly from it because it will help us to create a sense of community as future language teachers. So, I think that the community aspect of the LTS cohort is very important.

Brittany: If you want more information about NILI, check out our webpage!

Welcome to the Northwest Indian Language Institute

Thank you two so much for taking the time to introduce yourselves and share your passion for this very important topic!

October 19, 2017
by Trish Pashby
1 Comment

Six LTS Alumni Teaching at Tokyo International University

LTS student George Minchillo submitted this report on LTS alumni currently teaching at Tokyo International University. George is there now serving as an intern and will graduate from University of Oregon at the end of this term.

Please Give us a Brief Overview of Tokyo International University

Brick wall with shield and title of Tokyo International University

Welcome to Tokyo International University!

Tokyo International University is a Japanese university in the greater Tokyo area. Although the Global Teaching Institute (the university’s English language program and faculty) has only been around for close to 5 years, you wouldn’t be able to tell from its staff of about 50 instructors and the wide variety of activities and events that it sponsors for the university and surrounding community!

One of the biggest and most important missions of the GTI is cultural globalization and international cooperation, which is evidenced by the E-Track program (English Track: classes are taught primarily in English with some Japanese as a Second Language courses) comprised of students from many different countries who have come to Japan seeking a degree in Business, Economics, or English communication. The other program the GTI offers is the J-Track (Japanese Track: mostly Japanese students earning a Japanese degree) and this is comprised of the required English courses that all students at the university are required to take.

Six LTS alumni are currently members of the TIU faculty: Becky Lawrence, Ryan Felix, Annelise Marshall, Brandon Bigelow, Kodiak Atwood, and LeeAnn Genovese.

A woman showing a cell phone to a student

Becky Lawrence showing her Basic Writing student a photo about her experience at a Japanese festival.

What classes do you teach at TIU?

Becky: I teach four classes in the Global Teaching Institute. Three are core classes for J-Track students learning English. For these core classes, I teach Sections 3 and 4, which are pretty beginner levels (the levels go from 1-28). I teach English Comprehension (Reading) to both Sections 3 and 4, and Basic Writing to Section 4. The other class that I teach is Advanced Reading and Writing, and I teach the highest level of this particular class, which is an elective for J-Track students who are mostly juniors and seniors. I really enjoy all of my classes because they each present unique challenges. I like that I get to experience teaching beginner students and advanced students at the same time. It makes me more creative, and I regularly use techniques and activities that I learned in LTS!

Ryan Felix warming up his students with an exercise in frequency adverbs!

Ryan: I’ve been at TIU for four years now! Each year I’m assigned different classes to teach; this year I have reading and writing classes with Japanese students. I’ve also been teaching public speaking for the last three years in a separate program for international students studying business or international relations. At first, I was nervous about teaching it, having little public speaking experience myself, but I’ve learned so much!

Brandon: I graduated from the LTS program in 2013, and have been at TIU since September 2016. I teach English Comprehension and Basic Writing for freshmen Japanese students. I also teach Academic Composition for international students from countries including Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and Indonesia.

Kodiak Atwood posing for a photo with his students and co-teacher.

Kodiak: I’m currently teaching two listening classes and one speaking class to Japanese freshmen. The Japanese freshmen are really fun to work with and I have a lot of room to experiment and try new things out in the classroom. I’m currently implementing a gamified curriculum where all of the students are characters in a role-playing game and that’s going really well! I also teach an analytical reading and critical thinking course to international students. The international students are all advanced and occasionally native speakers, which is a welcome challenge and change of pace. We are able to cover really interesting topics and discuss complicated issues in class that I normally wouldn’t be able to do.Annelise: This year I’m teaching first year listening and speaking classes and a composition class focused on research writing.

George: I’m here as an intern, so I’m not regularly participating at the front of a classroom. However, there will be weekly opportunities for me to run a variety of workshops based on topics, skills, or functions that interest me (and hopefully interest the students). I also get to participate in a series of workshops for local Honda employees who are coming to the university for TOEIC training.

Which committee are you a part of?

Becky: All faculty are part of a specific committee that works to provide students to GTI faculty and students and make the GTI and TIU the best university it can be. I’m the SLI (Student Leadership Internship) Coordinator, which means that I work closely with J-Track and E-Track students who work part-time in the English Plaza. As Faculty Advisor, I’m responsible for ensuring that they have the support and training that they need to make the English Plaza a welcoming and educational place for all TIU students who want to come practice their English.

Annelise Marshall working with students in her Academic Composition class.

Ryan: I’m part of a committee that’s responsible for gathering and creating materials that teachers can use in their lessons.

LeeLee: Kodiak and I started our coordinator role: International Education Team. We started this role based on our observation that there is a lack of support for students interested in going abroad not related to the ASP (American Studies Program). The ASP is the largest study abroad program we have through TIU, where we send 120-130 students to Willamette University in Oregon for 10 months. ASP students have a lot of support, but other study abroad students are left to figure life out on their own. So, we decided to start doing what we could to help them. We do things like pre- and post-study abroad orientations, we advise and help students through the process of finding programs, we have even interviewed applicants to go abroad, and kept up communications with students as they were studying abroad. We have held multiple study abroad fairs in conjunction with the IEO (International Exchange Office). We discovered, encouraged, motivated and mentored international students (E-Track) currently at TIU to give cultural and educational presentations about their home countries in our plaza!

Kodiak: I am one of the International Education Coordinators. We are responsible for giving study abroad students the resources they need to be successful, creating opportunities for students to experience different cultures, and promoting internationalism around campus. We have been responsible from organizing the annual freshman trip to Oregon each year and give workshops and lessons related to study abroad.

Brandon: My committee focus is with the English Plaza Library, where I help maintain over 2,500 English books and continually add new and diverse options.

George: As the intern, you get to participate in all of the committees! I have a weekly rotation throughout all of the GTI committees that allows me to familiarize myself with their roles and duties, as well as help out with any of their current projects. At first it can be a bit overwhelming, but it’s also a unique opportunity and very insightful to see how the entire program comes together as a whole through these committees.

Brandon Bigelow posing with a group of students representing Indonesian culture for the TIU international fair.

What else do you do at TIU?

Becky: In addition to teaching, all faculty have to participate in either English Lounge, which is conversation time with students, or Academic Advising, which is helping with homework and essays. I chose to do English Lounge because I love talking with students every day. It’s awesome watching them blossom and try out new vocabulary and grammar as they talk about subjects they’re interested in.

Brandon: Additionally, I have the opportunity to chat with students on comfy couches about less formal, relaxing topics during English Lounge time.

Annelise: I also supervise the English-Speaking Society, a student-led club concentrated on using English for discussion and formal presentations.

George: I also get to participate in English Lounge and Academic Advising, which is pretty similar to the Conversation Partner program at UO. This has probably been my most favorite part of being at TIU, just because the students are fun to hang out with. At first it’s a little bit intimidating and it can be difficult to think of what to say, but then you realize that most of the students just want the opportunity to learn more about people from other countries and it becomes a very relaxing, fun experience.

Anything else you would like to share about TIU?

Becky: I really love working at TIU for many reasons. I love the wide range of students that I get to teach. I also love the working environment. All of the faculty are friendly and supportive. It’s nice to come to work and enjoy the people I am working with. It’s definitely like a family! We do things outside of work together, which is really nice when you’re living in a foreign country. It’s also nice to have a co-teacher that shares my same students, because we can plan our classes together and lean on each other for support. Not really TIU related, but I also really enjoy the Japanese semester system, because we have lots of vacation time. I’m looking forward to exploring South Korea, China, Thailand, and Taiwan in the upcoming months!  Finally, I really love that I have a network of LTS alumni here at TIU. It feels like a little piece of home even though I’m thousands of miles away!

Ryan: Teaching in Japan and at TIU has been an invaluable experience. I’m learning another language and culture—making friends and participating in local events has been personally very fulfilling. I’m also getting a better sense of what it means to be a professional in this field. Being a member of the Japanese Association for Language Teaching gives me access to talks and literature, as well as my own professional development opportunities. A great big thank you to LTS professors, and our great leader, Keli, who prepared us well to be in the field. It’s working!!

Walking into the TIU Campus Plaza, one can view the flags from many nations around the world.

Annelise: I love that at TIU I get to work with both Japanese students and international students from all over the world!

Brandon: TIU is incredibly welcoming. There is abundant respect and consideration for both the students and instructors. Being a part of the TIU community has been a true privilege.

Kodiak: I really enjoy working here! My coworkers and students are great, the class sizes are small, and I am able to try new and interesting things out in the classroom! 

George: One of the best things about TIU is that the working environment is very low stress. In my previous experiences studying Japanese and learning about Japanese culture, I had heard that the working environment in Japan is often one of high stress and long work hours. While each member of the GTI team is certainly busy, and may occasionally need to work a few additional hours, there is no sense of stress and everyone really seems to enjoy their time here. I really hope that I can become part of the team myself one day!

 

October 14, 2017
by zachp
0 comments

Spanish Language Learning APP LingroToGo!

Check out today’s post about a revolutionary Spanish language learning application called LingroToGo. Featured is Dr. Julie Sykes–our very own LTS faculty member and Director of CASLS (Center for Applied Second Language Studies)–along with a couple LTS students who have worked on the app.

Dr. Julie Sykes presenting to the LTS cohort about CASLS and LingroToGo

Julie, thank you so much for joining us today. Please share with us what makes this APP so special:

LingroToGo is the first comprehensive app that explicitly targets language learning strategies, pragmatics, and function-based language learning. Moving beyond the translation of words and phrases, the app really helps people work on how to use the words and structures they learn in a meaningful way.

What about the pragmatic component of it?

Pragmatics really focuses on the exchanges of meaning and the avoidance of miscommunication whenever possible. It is exciting to see pragmatic components of language treated systematically throughout the app.

And there’s video too?

Yep. There are a robust set of videos that focus on strategies and pragmatics, the two pieces of a language learning curriculum which are often not seen in teaching and learning materials.

Awesome! And just curious, where did the name LingroToGo come from?

The Lingro part of the name comes from our collaborative partner, Lingro Learning and the ToGo piece parallels the name of one of our other tools, LinguafolioToGo, a comprehensive e-portfolio designed for language classroom.

LTS (2017) alum Dan White, who developed the Cryptogram feature of the Lingro App as his Master’s Project, had this to say about his time working on Lingro: “The Lingro App was a very fortuitous opportunity for me, as I was hoping to find a project that revolved around creating a game or puzzle for language teaching. I had never done app development before, but I was familiar with coding. Fortunately, Julie gave me the opportunity, and the app development team were very patient with me as I learned how to develop the Cryptogram. I was so pleased that my contribution made it into the final product, and it really stands out when you are using the app as one of the most challenging features. I can take this app development experience with me in the future, and I look forward to developing my own language apps.”

Current LTS student and CASLS GE (Graduate Employee) Zach Patrick-Riley: “This app is simply revolutionary. It does a perfect job of showing what 21st century education should include; not just a focus on language but strategies for successful interpersonal communication and autonomy building. My favorite part has to be the videos in each section. Maybe I am a little biased because I have helped create a number of them, but they are so fun and engaging to watch! Seriously, check out this app, te va a encantar y aprender español muy rápido.”

Other LTS students who have contributed to this app include Christopher Daradics (2016) and Valeria Ochoa (2017).

LingroToGo is available for download for IOS right now @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lingrotogo/id1273904866?mt=8

Android is coming very soon as well! In fact, if you would like to take part in Beta testing please sign up here:  https://goo.gl/forms/VSGlmNBIfBS26yL13

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