Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

June 18, 2020
by LTSblog

LTS students think back on the remote term

Our remote Spring term is now over, a much-awaited break is here, and LTS students are free to … well, they are still free just to mostly stay at home!

LTS students are also teachers, even when they are not teaching. They are always thinking about their own (future or current) students as they consider what learning and teaching means to them. Some of the LTS students share their thoughts below on what they have learned from this remote learning term.

LTS students together on campus, following the motto ‘hang out but space out’

I’ve learned that language classes can be done online and there are so many ways to interact with students, even young students! However, I think face to face classes won’t be replaced by online classes. Students still need in-class time to learn languages and practice in an environment. In this term, the micro-teaching workshops gave me lots of ideas for teaching online and I’ve learned lots of strategies for class management. Although this term was hard, I learned some new things and adjusted to the new life.  —Lily

I learned that it’s very important to set boundaries especially during trying times. Early on in the quarter, I noticed myself working long hours for my GE and for school simply because there was no separation between my work and home. I think, especially as teachers, we are prone to overworking and to keep working even when we should be done. This term really demonstrated to me how that is not a sustainable option and that we as teachers and students need to take a break so, when we come back to our work, we can do our best. — Johanna

 Over the past 2.5 months working and studying from home, I have learned that creating spaces that have specific purposes is very important. In general when a grad student, it can be difficult to take breaks, especially if you have work and other life obligations as well, let alone adding a global pandemic to the equation. I see just how resilient we have all been in creating community online and being supportive of each other. There is a definite fatigue that goes along with getting all of your input online; however, I think that there are extraordinary opportunities with integrating it with traditional classroom learning. — Leigh

 Last term’s social-distance was not easy being a student and having a GE teaching position. On the other hand, it was a valuable experience to be in a virtual educational space. I tried to adjust and enjoy myself in the new technological teaching & learning environment because these new unexpected situations, combined with the somewhat expected trends, were inevitable. This new technologically-driven style was expected to happen eventually. However, the sudden happening of COVID-19 may have pushed towards us to a new lifestyle a little earlier than expected. — Cathy

I learned so many things!! As a GE for Japanese department, at first it was so hard to connect with students online without face to face connections. At the same time, I was able to explore many online teaching ideas and strategies! These experiences will definitely help me teach languages in the future. As for learning, it did not stop me from enjoying LTS courses. However, I missed my classmates and playing sports together (I hope we can gather sometime soon!)… — Yoshi

While I haven’t had to teach any classes during this transition to remote learning, I have been a student throughout it, and it has taught me many things about myself as a learner, and also about our educators, and the work they do for us.

Learning online, exclusively, has been very challenging, and it’s shocking how draining it can be, despite hardly moving. Balancing my screen time with other activities has been an important step for me to maintain my ability to function during all of this! Reaching out and benefitting from the cohort has also been one of the things that has kept me sane. Leaning on those relationships that we have built in the previous terms has been really helpful in dealing with the stress of the new learning environment, and the uncertainty of the near future.

Lastly, just from the (relatively) small amount of work that I have had to do through Zoom and other remote learning platforms, I can really see how hard our instructors must be working to continue to provide us with our education. We are all in this together, and I am really grateful for what all of the LTS faculty have been able to do to be there for us, and try to make the best of this situation. Between the cohort and the faculty, I have never once felt like I was completely lost or without someone to talk to.  — Dustin

The presence of COVID-19 was a major challenge as a graduate student. The constant health concerns for myself and my loved ones was overwhelming. I could not escape from those stresses. The necessary implementation of social distancing made this experience more taxing. However, there were goals and deadlines to be met for the term. These may have been what kept structure in my life, outside of online synchronous zoom classes, and ultimately aided me in this time. Yet the standard student stresses (e.g., academics, work, social inequality, etc.) were ever present. There was fatigue, much more than expected or planned for.

Zoom sessions became more therapeutic in a sense. Teaching and learning through zoom were a near daily highlight for me. My screen time grew exponentially, possibly greater than my “gamer junkie” years. The complete online system was not without some problems. There were occasional technical issues that would prevent learning for those unfortunate enough to have them happen. As a personal side, my eyesight has worsened. However, having practice teaching and learning in the complete online synchronous format allowed us to experiment with teaching strategies and materials (online and from in our own respective spaces). — Tommy

This pandemic has presented a new set of challenges for us all. Being a graduate student and GE is a challenge in itself. Not having to go to class freed up some time from not having to physically travel to the classroom, but it also caused a lot of mental fatigue from having to sit in the same spot most of the day and be on zoom calls. What helped me was scheduling physical activity into my daily routine as well as making sure to give myself a break when getting mentally burned out from school or work. — Connor

Teaching online during the COVID 19 crisis has been a totally new experience. It is challenging: in almost every session, we would meet a different issue. However, by solving these issues together with the students, we also generate interesting teaching and learning opportunities. Eventually, we were able to get used to the online model and get the most out of it. I didn’t expect the knowledge of teaching with technology that we learned in LTS would be applied so soon, but it is definitely a good thing to always be ready. I think online teaching is absolutely a viable way of teaching, if enough structure is put into it, we can benefit it even after COVID 19.  — Reagan


June 10, 2020
by LTSblog

Student spotlight Yoshihisa

こんにちは! Hi, I’m Yoshi from Japan. You might be imagining a green monster in Mario brothers and you are maybe right! Actually, I am very good at jumping. In fact, I was able to jump higher than my apartment (Oh my apartment does not jump at all…). Anyway, I’d love to answer some questions!

Thank you Yoshi! First, how are you doing during this very unusual term?

I am doing ok! I guess this term is tough for everyone since we cannot go to coffee shops, meet friends, take classes on campus, and so on. However, we can meet classmates and professors online! (The picture below seems many students felt the computer screen was bright.) I also learned so many online materials and ways for language teaching. I believe this experience will allow me to help students better!

Shades day in an early Zoom meeting

What did you decide to focus on during your time in the LTS program?

I am interested in Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) because TBLT has potential for meeting each student’s needs and giving many opportunities for students to practice real-life communicative situations.

From my experience of studying English and teaching junior high and high school students in Japan, I found out that students are diverse in so many ways and we must meet each student’s needs. In addition, when people around the world can communicate anywhere and anytime, it is crucial to support students to be ready for successful communication with people around the world who may have different native languages, different cultures, religions, and so on.

I believe TBLT is a great solution to address these goals. There are different definitions of TBLT, but everyone agrees that it utilizes tasks at the core of the language teaching. The emphasis is on the completion of the tasks instead of students’ accuracy such as their grammatical mistakes. I found it similar to a real-world situation! Students usually try the tasks at the beginning of the lesson without learning grammar and vocabulary beforehand. By the end of the task, each student has discovered what they can do and what they cannot do. Here, each student learns and practices what they need with differentiation techniques.

I am writing my final project about TBLT and Differentiated Instruction, and now I am putting together a literature review, surveys from teachers and students in Japan, and document analyses. I am really looking forward to the completed final project!

Congratulations on your project so far! As someone who is close to finishing the program, do you have any words of advice for future LTS students?

Yes!! But first, I’d like to say you made the right decision, future LTS students!! This is a wonderful place where people love language teaching, people love helping each other, and people love hanging out outside the school.

First advice: Please take a break! Hang out with your colleagues.

This is graduate school and you will have so many things to do. You might need to read many articles or write a long essay in one day. Some of you might have a GE position and need to work for about 20 hours a week in addition to your study. It is a lot… There is no time to do something other than studying… Oh, that is not true!! Taking a rest from study will help you work better! Eugene has many good restaurants, coffee shops, and nature. Go outside!!

Alton Baker Park

I run around Alton Baker park every day. I saw Keli and Robert kayaking there once.

On Spencer Butte, the air is really delicious! On the summit, you will have a magnificent view!

Spencer Butte

Spencer Butte from a different angle










Second advice: Talk to your professors!

You will learn so many new things and some of them will be hard to understand. The theories and the practices are different, and you might need to know the first-hand experiences. Ask your professors! They always welcome your questions and love helping their students.

May 20, 2020
by LTSblog

Faculty reflections on our remote term

LTS faculty and staff really care about their students! We want you to know that we are here to encourage and support and celebrate what you are doing. We are also reflecting on what we are learning from this term, from you our students, and from the situation itself of suddenly teaching and administrating online. Below are some quotes from us about our reflections so far.

I’ve learned a lot this term, and I’ve genuinely been really encouraged by my experiences with remote teaching. I have designed and delivered quite a few asynchronous courses, but the real-time Zoom sessions have been new to me. As much as I value the face-to-face classroom experience, I’ve enjoyed this term largely because it has been so experimental. I feel like both faculty and students have been very creative this term. Sometimes good things can come from trying times!

— Andy Halvorsen

I sure miss the classroom and interacting with everyone f2f, but I have enjoyed experimenting with various Zoom and Canvas tools (and look forward to using some of these in future courses). I admire the flexibility, effort, and responsibility students bring to class despite the challenges. I learn so much from them as well as from communicating with colleagues about their remote teaching experiences—what a great community! The LTS social hour (I go to the Friday afternoon one) has been a relaxing and fun way to get to know students and faculty better—I discover things I never would have if it weren’t for these Zoom sessions!

— Trish Pashby

I have learned how truly creative and resilient our students and faculty are under less than ideal circumstances. It has been inspiring to watch how quickly they adapt, how hard they work, and how engaged they remain. It is an honor to work with them.

— Julie Sykes

Although it may take a few emails back and forth (which can be tiring) in place of someone dropping by my desk for a quick chat, it’s been a relatively painless transition to remote work. Implementing and guiding students through new electronic processes which were previously done on paper has been fun and insightful. I truly hope what we’ve learned from this experience will have a positive impact on our procedures, making them easier for students when we’re back on campus. While my ability to assist students hasn’t changed working from home, I sure do miss seeing them and can’t wait for the day our main office is bustling again!

— Kayla Robinson, Graduate Coordinator

This has been the most unusual term I’ve ever seen. One thing I’ve enjoyed is the weekly informal meetings with the students where we catch up and sometimes play games together. I actually feel I know my students better through these informal meetings, and its been a blast laughing together.

— Robert Elliott

What I have learned from teaching remotely this term: Notes to self:

  1. I can do “the impossible” and I’m not in this alone; collaborate!
  2. Don’t waste time and precious energy resisting what can’t be changed; rather, spend that energy on what I can still do and what I can adapt and learning new tools.
  3. I am having to do what I ask my students to do every day–to be brave and take the risks necessary for genuine learning; I always say that teachers need to try something hard and new every year or so to remember what it feels like to “be on the other side of the desk.”
  4. I am still me and that is what I bring to the classroom, no matter the platform. Inability to complete an activity one way opens possibilities for new ways to explore the material.
  5. Creating learning experiences is key.

— Laura Holland

This term I have learned that the LTS students are flexible and resilient! I have also learned that using partially “flipped” classes can be a helpful resource (whether we are engaging remotely or not).

— Kris Kyle

Sometimes timing is everything, and much of the time you have no control over what coincides with it. When we rolled out the latest version of ANVILL in the Fall (you were the first users) we had no idea that hundreds of teachers would be looking for a streaming media platform that works inside of their LMS. It’s been humbling and challenging these past 3 months to support language teachers on campus and afar as they try to find many different ways of showing and telling and connecting.

— Jeff Magoto

I have learned from this that while I regret not seeing everyone in person, I still get great energy from our interactions online. Granted, this term my interactions are the fun ones – the microteaching workshops, our social hours, and office hours – but the energy I get from staying connected with students and colleagues reinforces for me that teaching, or learning and collaborating together, is the right profession for me. I have also learned that we are adaptable, and that we are resilient indeed. I think we will look back on this period and be amazed at what we can accomplish even when we are caught off guard, distracted, or spending extra time under our covers to escape the world’s challenges. I love the expression ‘expand the pie‘, which is a term in business negotiations that refers to actively exploring new paths to common interests rather than defaulting to zero-sum compromises. Faced with remote learning, we don’t need to get stuck in a deficit mindset of how we are compromised; we can work in collaboration with technology to notice what we didn’t have before, like being able to meet up with everyone we want with just a click. Of course, I’m still really looking forward to having the choice again…

— Keli Yerian


April 12, 2020
by LTSblog

Alumni Spotlight – Ryan

Hi, I’m Ryan, and I graduated with the LTS cohort of 2013. Since then I’ve been teaching at Tokyo International University in charming Kawagoe, Japan, about an hour northwest of Tokyo by train. Positions for full-time English teachers are usually limited to a few years in Japan, so last year it was time to begin the hunt for another job.

Hello Ryan! Thanks for catching up with us on the LTS blog! The last time we heard from you, you described your work at Tokyo International University. Now you are about to start a new adventure. What are you doing next?

I was really excited (and extremely relieved) to land a spot at Kanda University of International Studies, a school that focuses exclusively on foreign language studies. It’s in Chiba, about an hour east of Tokyo. With the arrival of COVID-19, everything has changed. Like schools around the world, Kanda has made all courses online for the first semester, my entire orientation to the university has been on Zoom, and collaboration with colleagues from afar. It looks like this will be the new norm for the foreseeable future! Let’s hope we can make more of a human connection in the fall.

What is interesting or exciting to you about this new position?

I’m particularly interested in getting involved in their Self-Access Learning Center, where students can be trained to direct their own learning (related to my final project in LTS!).  I’ll be starting at the end of March, and I’m really looking forward to what’s in store.

You’ve said you had a good experience at TIU as your first teaching position after LTS. Looking back on your 6 years at TIU, what do you think is key to a positive and growth-oriented workplace? What should our LTS graduates be looking for when they interview for positions?

I really lucked out with TIU. It was the first opportunity for employment after LTS (Thanks for the heads up, Keli!) and was a wonderful experience. Both the administration and my colleagues were very supportive; at no time did I feel I couldn’t turn to someone for help or information. There were also plenty of opportunities for professional development and learning. I hope new LTS graduates can sense such an environment when they begin looking for jobs.

It’s been 6 years since you graduated. What do you hope to learn, experience, or discover in the next 6 years?

Looking forward, I’ll continue to develop professionally and enjoy my life here. I intend to get more involved in research at KUIS’ center for autonomous learning, a subject I’m very interested in. I also want learn about my new community: find new haunts, meet locals, and participate in neighborhood events. And, of course, continue my life-long study of Japanese!

A last question – how important do you think it is to stay in touch with colleagues from the past as you move through different phases in your life? 

Life after LTS has been a real adventure, just like the program was. It’s always fun to hear what old classmates have been up to. Many of us have been lucky enough to see each other at various celebrations in our lives. Staying connected is sometimes a way to learn about professional opportunities, but it’s always a way to remember and enjoy good times.

March 1, 2020
by LTSblog

In memoriam – LTS alumnus Lee Huddleston

Lee Huddleston started LTS in June 2017 and graduated in August 2018. He tragically passed away in February 2020 in the Confederated State of Micronesia, where he had returned to teach English after earning his MA degree. According to sources listed at the end of this post, he suffered a heart attack after saving a child who was drowning.

Lee was much loved by his peers and teachers in our program. He spread good cheer and encouragement to everyone he met and worked with. His MA project, “Local Legend Literature as Content in English Language Classrooms: A Micronesian High School Context”, was a reflection of his deep care for the community he had worked with for 2 previous years in the Peace Corps; it was a sincere effort to supplement the English curricula for his students with indigenous and locally meaningful materials.

Below are memories and testimonies written by some of those who knew him while he was in LTS. If you would like to add your voice to the ones below, please write to Keli Yerian at

We will deeply miss you, Lee.

This video clip of Lee and Alina trying out the TPR teaching method in Spanish shows why he was such a special cohort member and teacher.

“Lee was a bright light everywhere he went. I will never forget the countless hours we spent together studying, hiking, sharing stories and ideas on teaching, and simply enjoying life. He genuinely cared about everyone that he met, even if only for a brief moment. I will miss you dearly- colleague, friend, adventurer, and hero.” — Alexis Busso

“I had the pleasure to stand next to Lee at commencement, and it was such a joyful experience. On that day, Lee was wearing his shapely ironed gown without a cap. When we were tossing our graduation caps, Lee was acting how to toss the air above his head. We laughed so hard. He was a guy who has magic to turning everything around him funny and amazing. Rest In Peace, Lee. It was so wonderful meeting you”.  — Yuxin Cheng

“The way that Lee gave his life for another has proven everything I came to believe about his character in the time I knew him”. — Sean Brennan

“I feel so glad to have a chance to work with him even just for a term. I feel so glad to meet him so I learned how to be a gentle person. Thank you Lee. You maybe didn’t notice, but you really brought a lot to this world”. — Elaine Sun

“Lee has been and always is a cheerful and warm-hearted friend, full of wonder, gentle and caring soul and humble and passionate human being. I am saddened by this loss and grateful for having crossed path with a loving and thoughtful Lee. He has lived his life to the fullest and with no regrets.” — Ngan Vu

“It was such a pleasure to have Lee as a student, he was always positive and engaged and really cared about his work and the way it would impact students. He was a clear mentor to his peers and always someone people looked up to, whether they needed help on something or were just having a bad day. I am grateful our paths crossed and will always remember Lee fondly”. — Julie Sykes

“Lee, you devoted your life to teaching. Your passion and love will always be my guiding star. Farewell good friend, and good teacher.” — Reagan Yu

“Dear Lee, Just the other day I was thinking to text you and ask you about your plan to visit Pakistan, and then the next day you shocked me with the news that you are no longer on this earth. Since then, my eyes are filled with tears, and I am living  in a flashback. I am rereading our chat again and again. Have I ever told you how amazing and selfless a human you were? You know you are the luckiest man because every single person you met in your life is mourning for you. I feel so honored to spend part of my life with you, learning from you, and getting to know you, and I am proud to call you my friend, Lee. I’ll miss you so much. (Let’s finish this with our fist bump)” — Amna Hassan

“Lee was always a very friendly and positive person to be around. He was a great person and a friend to all in the LTS and SLAT program”. — Paul Badger Nishide

“Although Lee and I were never close friends, it never mattered how deep the relationship was, he always took the time to listen, and his words were always chosen carefully, and delivered with thoughtfulness and kindness. I came to Lee for advice before taking an adventurous leap into the unknown, knowing he himself had already done so before. He gave me the reassurance and perspective I needed to take that step, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. In his own small way, he made a large impact on me, and I know he did the same for so many others. Truly a
shining example of a human being — the world will be far less rich without him.” — Dustin Robson

“My heart aches to hear this sad news.  I remember Lee passionately talked about his peace corps experience and life in Micronesia at the LTS party where 2017-2018 cohort and faculty members got together on the first weekend of the summer 2017. His kind and thoughtful gestures (and funny jokes) always lightened up our mood and busy days in grad school. Lee had a gentle, beautiful spirit. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and everyone who loved him.”   — Yumiko Omata

“Lee, you were sometimes a goofball in class, but always in a way that kept us laughing. You were willing and ready to participate in any LTS activities, such as the optional microteaching workshops, where you always shared plenty of energy for teaching. You were sincere and caring, and people followed your lead. I easily remember the first day I met you when you came to ask about the program. I’m glad you decided to join us. Thank you for what you have shared with us all while you were with us”. — Keli Yerian

“It was my pleasure to meet you in LTS program. You were always one of the classmates who showed your warm heart to people around you. Although you left us early, we will remember your sense of humor and kindness forever”. — Alina Chen

“Lee was a wonderful, kind presence at all times, and he made the cohort feel more like a family than anything else. His genuine desire to help everyone (but especially his students) is an inspiration that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life”. — Logan Matz

“Some of my favorite memories of Lee include: spending weekends at coffee shops during grad school, watching reality cooking shows in Kazakhstan to unwind after a long days work, going on epic hikes, watching his favorite football team- the Philadelphia Eagles- win the Super Bowl, and just so many times laughing together about all sorts of stuff.  Lee you were truly an exceptional person and friend. You put your heart into everything, especially when it came to helping others. When we would design lessons together, you would spend as long as it took to create activities the students would enjoy.. You were a rock of support for everyone during our time together in grad school and Kazakhstan. You had a delightful sense of humor and wit about you. You loved exploring new places and new cultural experiences. You constantly inspired me to be a better teacher and person. There are so many words to say, but for now Lee, your legacy will live on forever in all the lives you beautifully touched, including mine. Thank you for everything, dear friend.Here are some words inspired by you.


A teacher is a mentor
A teacher is an educator
A teacher is a guide

A teacher is an artist
A teacher is a performer
A teacher is a designer

A teacher loves adventure
A teacher loves learning
A teacher loves creating

A teacher helps others intellectually
A teacher helps others socially
A teacher helps others emotionally

A teacher cares deeply about their students
A teacher cares deeply about schools
A teacher cares deeply about the world

A teacher is a hero.

Lee you were all these things and more”

— Zach Patrick-Riley


News link:

Here are several past LTS blog posts including Lee

February 14, 2020
by LTSblog

Student spotlight – Johanna

Johanna is a current student in the 2019-2020 LTS cohort. Her story highlights how a teacher’s goals in TESOL can be enriched by a program focused on multiple languages.

Johanna (2nd from left) with fellow teachers-in-training in Valencia, Spain

Hi Johanna! Please introduce yourself to the readers, and tell us all a bit about you!

Hi, I’m Johanna! I come from Bend, OR where I grew up and spent most of my life. All during my time growing up, I knew that I liked grammar and reading, and I thought that I wanted to be an editor for a publishing firm for many years. However, as I moved on to my undergraduate studies at Willamette University, I took a job tutoring English to students as part of the American Studies Program there, and I found out that I loved not just thinking about English on my own but also sharing it with others.

In the wild. (Cape Perpetua near Yachats, OR)

Outside of my interest in language-y things, I am interested in crochet, hiking, animals, spending time with friends, and trying to play sports. At any given time, I have three crochet projects going on, but I never seem to complete them. And when I say “hiking,” I really mean nature walks. I do not have the dedication to really call myself a hiker. However, this year, I have tried playing the most sports since I was in middle school PE. A group of us in LTS like to get together for badminton, basketball, football, rock climbing, etc, and while we haven’t mastered any of those sports yet, we sure are enthusiastic participants. When I’m not pretending to have an active lifestyle, I like to be at home where I have two cats and a tortoise. I like to spend time playing with them and enjoying their company. However, they are some of the worst study companions as they always try to get between me and the computer.

How did you find out about the LTS program? What made you want to apply for it?

I found out about LTS when the teacher of the class I was tutoring for recommended it to me. She praised its reputation for multilingual teacher education and thought it would be a good fit for my desires in a program. While I had originally planned on doing doing an MA TESOL, I decided to look into LTS. After some research, I became excited at the concept of working alongside teachers of other languages and at the prospect of what I would learn from everyone’s different experiences with language teaching. I ultimately decided to apply for the program after doing a CELTA certificate and working alongside a highly diverse cohort of teachers from around the world. I learned I loved working with people who had experiences different from mine and that challenged my preconceptions of teaching. Shortly after finishing my CELTA, I applied for LTS, confident it was the ideal program for me.

Teaching an English course during CELTA certification

Tell the readers about your travels! Where have you been before, and where do you hope to go in the future?

I have not done extensive international travel, but I’ve done a little. I went to Japan for 2 ½ months when I was in high school on a Rotary Exchange program. When I was there, I lived in Tsuruoka, Yamagata and attended Chuo High School. This experience was my first experience on my own and my first experience out of the country, so it was a highly defining moment in my life. I also travelled to Spain when I was 22, and that is where I did my CELTA certificate. I spent one month in Valencia, and then I travelled the Mediterranean Coast for a week before heading back to reality. In the future, I hope to travel throughout Latin and South America and the Carribean. In particular, I would like to go to Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, but I would go anywhere I had the opportunity to.

I know that you have a GE position at CASLS. Can you tell us about how that has been? What have you been up to over there?

I am a GE at the Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) which has been an experience largely congruent with what I have learned in LTS. At CASLS, they prioritize teaching through complex scenarios and immersive experiences which has been interesting because I have been able to be a part of testing those and designing supporting materials around those. However, the most rewarding part of the job has been working in collaboration with the other grad student in the office. We have been able to tag-team a lot of projects and learn in collaboration with one another. Having someone else to bounce ideas off of and brainstorm with has made this job enjoyable and productive.

We’re nearing the halfway point of the LTS program. What has been your favorite part of it so far? What has been the most challenging?

My favorite part has, of course, been taking the teaching practicum course with Laura Holland in Fall Quarter. It was such an enjoyable class, and I learned a lot about creating a quality discussion course while being able to immediately implement the things I learned in the class we all co-taught. I always woke up excited to go to this class. Shout out to Laura for making my first quarter on campus warm and welcoming and for giving me the confidence to start my master’s degree strong.

Celebrating the season with Santa Duck and other LTS members

The most challenging thing has been realizing that I won’t be able to work will all the wonderful people in my cohort this closely beyond this year. I have really enjoyed everyone’s knowledge, perspectives, and kindness, and I will miss everyone greatly once we graduate. I have really learned the value of working with people you like and respect. It results in hugely positive working environments where you can learn a lot and contribute a lot to those working around you. The other most challenging thing is when professors require submission of an assignment in hardcopy. Why do I keep losing all my hardcopies? Where do they keep going?

Any exciting plans for Spring break?

Nothing set in stone yet, but hopefully I’ll get out of town for a few days and maybe go see some water, like at a lake or at the ocean. That would be a breath of fresh air.


January 27, 2020
by krobin14

Student Spotlight- Cathy Lee

Cathy Lee is a current LTS student in her third term. Although she’s lived in the US for 15 years, Cathy joined us in Eugene last summer for her LTS adventure! Cathy’s story is unique, and her presence and experience enriches our current cohort in many ways.

In the Alps of Switzerland


Hi Cathy! Can you please introduce yourself to the readers, and tell us a bit about you?

Hello! My name is Cathy Lee.  I am slightly hesitant in calculating how many years have passed since I left the academia that I had studied in South Korea. It has been around 30 years ago! I moved to the US about 15 years ago. After moving and all my family affairs were settled stably, I greatly missed my teaching career (mathematics and English) at the learning center that I owned in Korea.

With my students at KSSNJ in NJ

Seek and you shall find!  This phrase has been a direction indicator since I found the power of the saying in my old enough age. So, roughly six years ago, I ended up teaching the Korean language at the Korean School of Southern New Jersey. At the school, I experienced so much fun with my young students and gained the invaluable trigger to professionally teach the Korean language.

I moved to Eugene, Oregon, and joined the LTS cohort last summer, leaving my soul mate (husband) at home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Boarding the LTS boat was my incredible choice and chance. I have been enjoying the sailing of my journey and am excited to see the port that I shall reach.


What made you decide to apply to the LTS MA program?

King Sejong who created Korean alphabet

The most motivating element that made me apply to the LTS MA program is the eagerness to learn how to productively teach the Korean language. When I looked through the LTS MA program at UO, the program description of providing teaching knowledge and training in the current trends immediately drew my attention, and my heart started to beat with joy.  Most of all, my director Keli’s kind direction and consideration allowed me to leave for Eugene.


You are unique from many of the students in the LTS cohort this year, in that you are returning to school after many years! What has this experience been like for you? What has surprised you the most about your time in the program so far?

When my children did not need my physical support as a mom, I raised a question to myself; what do you want to do with your life? I found my eagerness to study more about how to authentically teach the Korean language. Taking some college or community college courses near my home in Cherry Hill did not satisfy me. Unconsciously, I wanted to enter the area of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development for my own development. I got to this Zone, my LTS at UO. I have been constructing my practical knowledge with the help of our Program. Each course in the LTS program seems to be prepared specifically for me. I have been thrilled with the new learning in language teaching methods and planning, and also the cultural approach in language. The professors in all these courses are the models of their class materials. These have been all beyond my expectations.

Returning to school was my praiseworthy decision!


Since you are new to Eugene, how have you been enjoying it? Have you been able to do anything fun or exciting in the area? Is there anything you really want to see or do that you haven’t had the chance to yet?

On my way to Umpqua Hot Spring in OR

Yes, I have been enjoying living in Eugene. This city has particular characteristics. It has such a refined country mood, so I have been feeling as if I am in the middle of East America and Europe. I felt this especially when I visited a small gallery in an eclectic neighborhood, I captured some degree of flying humanistic freestyles. So many common individuals expressed their own ideas through life-friendly materials and usages. There were invisible orders for respect other individuals among the freedom as well.

I also went to a beer brewery recently, and businesses in Eugene seem to operate peacefully. Everybody with family or friends seems to be comfortable to stay to have some food from a food truck right outside and listen to live music, or play a variety of board or card games.


With Winter term well underway, the MA project proposals are due in just a few weeks! Can you tell us a bit about what kind of project you are thinking of doing?

When I was assigned to the MA project, I asked myself exactly what specific area of teaching Korean I wanted to dig into. Without hesitation, I pointed out the word “honorifics.” During my Korean teaching experiences, I noticed that the usage of honorifics is a hidden obstacle for most learners.  Honorifics are weaved with cultural features and flavors. How exciting to untwist the invisible lump of honorifics! This project would go with many types of research and also be somewhat agonizing to get more clear goals. However, I will one day hear my future students’ expression, “Learning honorifics is an interesting and fascinating language learning process!”


Outside of LTS classes, have you been able to do any work around campus? Internships or GE positions? Tell us a bit about that

Pumpkin carving party in YLC at UO

Yes, I have been working as a GE with the Korean classes at Oregon State University language teaching since I started my MA program at the UO. Current applied technology in education enables me in Eugene to work for OSU in Corvallis. Via online, working with the students’ Korean language is an exciting and rewarding process. I listen to the students’ recording and send written and if needed, individual recording feedback in Korean. Sometimes, I meet students via Skype. I admire the students’ work and their gradual achievements. Also, I am working as a GE from this winter term in the Linguistic Department at the UO. I strongly realized that studying as a student in the LTS MA program is far beyond studying language teaching. Most of our cohort have gotten their GE positions. It is an absolutely beautiful balance between the theoretical study and practical experiences in an educational ground.


When you’re not studying or working hard, what do you like to do for fun? (Either here in Eugene, or back home with your family)

I love to travel to new places if some conditions are available such as money, time, and someone who enjoys a trip with me. I hope to get a long break very soon, and I wish to visit Korea to travel a few cities in Korea with my mother to take pleasure with the local food and culture. I also like to meet friends and enjoy a cup of tea or beer while talking. Often these days, I love to have the simple enjoyment of watching YouTube.  I love to hear people’s life stories through the computer screen because I am very much a people person. Isn’t it ironic?




January 21, 2020
by krobin14

LTS testimonial from recent graduate Tera. Thank you Tera!


LTS Alumni Tera in France

Dear Keli,

I wanted to share a brief anecdote about a job I just applied for. One
of their required questions stated: Explain how you would design and
facilitate a class session in an academic beginning- or
intermediate-level integrated reading and writing ESL class. Explain
what you hope to accomplish in this class session, what specific
activities will support the diverse student population, and how this
activity connects to a larger unit and to the course as a whole. (Please
limit your response to 750 words).

Thanks to all of the work we did in your curriculum class and in the MA
project, this question was very easy to answer. I only had to refer back
to one of my completed lesson plans and translate that into an essay

I just wanted to express my gratitude for the great preparation I
received from LTS to tackle questions like this!


January 17, 2020
by krobin14
1 Comment

Student Spotlight with Reagan (Jing) Yu

Reagan (Jing) Yu is a current LTS student from China. He has been studying in the United States for 7 years, and is in his second term of the MA program. Reagan also works at Yamada Language Center teaching Cantonese.

Having fun in Hong Kong

Hi Reagan! Please tell us all a bit about yourself

Hello! My name is Reagan (Jing) Yu. I am from Guangzhou, China. I’m currently in my 7th year of studying abroad in the U.S. (3 years in Maine, 1 year in New York and 2 years in Oregon). As you can probably tell, I move around a lot, and I enjoy the excitement of seeing unfamiliar landscapes, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. One of the fun facts about me is that, by 20, I have traveled to all Chinese provinces and 30 of the U.S. states.


We’re beginning Winter term now, but were you able to do anything fun for holiday break?

Yes! I decided to go back to China for winter break since my cousin was getting married. I was in my hometown Guangzhou for 2 weeks, but also got to backpack to Xi’an, Shanghai and Huizhou.


Exploring nature in Maine

What made you decide to apply for the LTS program?

One of my parents is Hakkah and the other is Hokkien, but I grew up in the biggest Cantonese-speaking city in China, where Mandarin is the official language. I have been exposed to many different languages since I was a toddler. I have actively observed how languages are used, acquired and taught when I was growing up. I have always dreamed of becoming a teacher. For languages especially, I have had “weird” ways of approaching them, and I put a lot of thought into how I would put them into rules to help people understand. I think I spent more time imagining myself up on the podium then actually paying attention to the class when I was going to school.

I majored in language education when I was a freshman in New York, but with the realization of my lack of deep, scientific linguistics background, I eventually transferred to UO and majored in Linguistics. Therefore joining LTS was a more than logical decision. LTS is the best fit for me, in which I will be able to apply my “fresh out of the oven” linguistics knowledge to what I want to do: teaching.

Also, who wouldn’t want to stay in Oregon for longer?


Having finished the first two terms of the LTS program, how have things been going for you so far?

Things have been going great. I think I have gotten to know most of the cohort very well. We as a group have also established a good network both academically and personally. I believe it makes researching much easier if you can casually drink beers with the people who are working on the same things, because people will express their ideas without holding back. It is true though, even without the beer, we have had a lot of opportunities to exchange our thoughts and brainstorm with each other during the first 2 terms and it has been very helpful.

Other than that, I took a few weeks to get used to the grad school life, where finding a balance is a major necessity. Between school and work; literature and science; Japanese 101 on Netflix and Spanish 101 on Duolingo; junk food and an oversized bag of spinach; water and beer… at last I think I have reached a good balance point at this time and I am ready for more challenges to come.


I know that you have been teaching Cantonese at Yamada Language Center, can you tell us about that experience?

Reagan with his Cantonese class at YLC

Yes. The class itself is very fun and engaging (I hope my students agree!). It belongs to the self study language program under the Yamada Language Center that students can take for 1-2 credits per term. This class is designed to be student-centered and focuses on interpersonal communication as well as cultural awareness.

I got involved with Yamada 2 years back when I was simply talking to the director, Jeff Magoto, about the idea of having a Cantonese class. And through countless obstacles we (99% Jeff) made the class happen, and it has been the most popular self-study class ever since.

We have had many students from different backgrounds take the class, and we have formed a great, and welcoming Canto community.


Outside of studying hard, and working at YLC, what do you like to do in your free time?

I am a big backpacker and tea drinker. I also enjoy playing the guitar, the keyboard and some other instruments for fun.

Archery and reading literature are also what I would do on a weekly routine. (At least recently)

For the rest of the time, I love to drink Japanese beer and whiskey.


MA project proposals are due in February (no pressure!), but have you decided on a topic yet? Anything about it you’d like to share with us?

Yes! I am the only one in LTS (that I know of) this year that is going to conduct an actual study for MA project, so I will have to start recruiting and running participants as soon as winter term starts.

My topic is:“The 2-way influence of absolute pitch & tones and its pedagogical application for adult non-tonal language speakers”

I am aiming to find some correlations between tones in music and tones in Cantonese (or any tonal languages), in order to come up with potentially better pedagogical approaches to the acquisition and teaching of tones of tonal languages.

I will be working in the linguistics lab under Dr. Melissa Baese-Berk’s supervision.


With students in Gansu, China


Thanks for taking the time to let us get to know you!

January 10, 2020
by krobin14

Faculty Spotlight- Kris Kyle

This Faculty Spotlight post features Dr. Kris Kyle. We are very excited to welcome him as our newest Linguistics/LTS Faculty. Kris joined our team in Fall 2019.


Newest LTS Faculty Dr. Kris Kyle

We are very glad to have you join our faculty! What drew you to the University of Oregon and the Linguistics Department?

Kris on first visit to UO

Thanks! I am very happy to be here. This department is a great place to be for a number of reasons. First, I was really drawn to the functional perspective to language that is taken by all of the faculty members. My own research into second language acquisition and second language assessment falls firmly within the larger functional paradigm (and specifically within usage-based language learning), so I really feel like I fit in theoretically. Second, I really appreciate the diversity of the research interests that the faculty hold – I get to learn something new almost every Friday at the Gloss colloquium talks! Finally, I really appreciate the collegiality of the faculty, students, and staff in the department. The Linguistics Department most certainly is a warm and happy family!

How will you be involved in the LTS program? What do you look forward to contributing to it?

To start, I will be teaching the Research Methods course (Winter 2020) and the Assessment (Spring 2020) course for the LTS program. I will likely also teach courses related to corpus linguistics and second language acquisition in the future. I look forward to helping students design research projects and/or think critically about the ways in which language proficiency is/has been/can be assessed!

Tell us about your experiences teaching in Korea. How did they lead you to the research questions you are asking now?

A recent trip to give a talk at Korea National University of Education in Cheongjui

I started my language teaching career in South Korea in 2006 (and taught there for almost three years). I had previously earned a BA in English and Spanish, and had taught 8th-grade English for one year at a private secondary school in Arkansas. I started out teaching at an after school test-prep school (hakwon) in Seoul, where I taught TOEFL writing and TOEFL speaking courses, primarily to middle-school age children. After doing that for seven months or so, my wife and I decided to leave Seoul and work for a rural school district (in Danyang-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do). In that position, I traveled to a different school each week and primarily taught middle-school conversation and “American culture”. Whereas my first job was extremely structured (and we were expected NOT to deviate from the prescribed lesson plans), my rural job was extremely unstructured. I had to create a curriculum on my own and generate all materials. It was in this position that I truly learned that I had a lot more to learn! After a year in Danyang, my wife and I were offered positions at Yonsei University (Wonju campus). In this position, I taught courses in conversation and also in TOEIC and TOEFL test prep. I found that I really enjoyed teaching university-aged students, which became a catalyst for future education. After returning from South Korea in 2009, I began graduate school (MA from Colorado State in 2011, PhD from Georgia State in 2016) where I continued to teach English for academic purposes (and writing in particular).

Some of my recent and current research explores the validity of standardized second language assessment tools (and in particular assessments of speaking and writing proficiency). The seeds for this research began early in my career as a test prep instructor, particularly as I grappled with how speaking and writing tasks were evaluated. One thing I am really interested in is the characteristics of what makes one sample second language (L2) writing or speaking “better” or seem more proficient than another. There are of course individualized factors that contribute to this, but there also seem to be a number of linguistic predictors as well (this is what I am really interested in).

What is an example of something you are currently working on that may interest L2 professionals?

Kris eating Galbi in the Danyang with friends (2007)

I am currently working on a project (funded by ETS) that explores the linguistic demands of attending a US university. In particular, I am focusing on the degree to which the language used in technology-mediated environments (e.g., Canvas) is substantively different from the language used in “traditional” learning environments. The direct purpose of the project is to inform the development of the TOEFL by helping to ensure that the language demands of the assessment tasks are similar to those of a university experience (including interaction in technology-mediated learning environments). This research (and other corpus-based research) also has direct implications for English for academic purposes classrooms because we want to ensure that the text types (i.e., registers, genres), task types, and linguistic features that we focus on in our classrooms align with what students will encounter in university settings.

Do you have any words of wisdom for current or future LTS students?

Graduate school can be stressful, but it is also rewarding! I would encourage LTS students to get as many teaching opportunities as possible, and find as many opportunities to be mentored by experienced teachers as possible. I would also encourage LTS students not to forget to have a little fun and to forge meaningful relationships with the other students in your cohort. I am still in contact with many of the individuals in my MA cohort, many of whom are language teaching professionals.

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