LTS

Language Teaching Specialization Blog Site at the University of Oregon

June 30, 2015
by LTSblog
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Alumni Spotlight Yukari Furikado-Koranda

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Yukari Furikado-Koranda earned her MA from LTS in 2010. She is a Japanese Instructor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Oregon. Her MA Project was titled, Online Tandem Learning Materials for Japanese Students and American Students: A CALL Teaching Portfolio. This portfolio took advantage of the LTS focus on multiple languages by integrating both Japanese and English language instruction into one project.

What attracted you to the LTS program originally?

I liked LTS program originally because you can complete the MA program in five consecutive quarter terms (15 months). That was very attractive to me because I was working as an full-time English teacher in Japan before coming to this program and I wanted to get MA in Linguistics as soon as I could so that I could go back to Japan and continue to teach. However, I had the great opportunity to teach Japanese classes as a TA and I found out that teaching and studying at the same time was very challenging, so I decided early in the program to take two years to finish LTS so that I can spread out the required courses a bit, which turned out to be perfect for me.

What did you learn in LTS that you still use in your teaching today?

I still use the narrative fluent speaking activity that I learned in an LTS class.

This activity goes like this. I have students think of a time they traveled somewhere (could be any topic) and have them tell a story to their partner in 3 min. After that, change the partner and have them tell the same story in 2 min. Then again have them tell the same story to another person in 1 min. Telling the same story to a different classmate over and over and having a time pressure helps them practice speaking fluently. My students love this activity!

What advice would you give future LTS students?

I suggest that you make good use of the opportunity to go observe teachers’ classes. The LTS program gives us many opportunities to go observe different teachers teaching in different settings. When I was in LTS, I was able to see teachers teaching English at the AEI at UO, Japanese in K-12 in Eugene and also in the Japanese elementary immersion school. I appreciate these wonderful opportunities because I could learn so much from seeing how others are teaching. That was a priceless experience for me and I bet you will feel the same!

 

June 30, 2015
by LTSblog
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Alumni Spotlight Eri Hayashi

Eri Hayashi alumni

Eri Hayashi graduated in 2013 and is now teaching English in Japan. Her MA project was titled “Fostering Willingness to Communicate Among Young Adult Japanese EFL Learners Through Form-Focused Communicative Activities”.

What is your favorite memory in LTS?

Fortunately, I have too many “favorite” moments in LTS, so it is hard to choose! However, what immediately popped up in my mind are so many get-togethers with my cohort. There was always someone besides me both inside and outside classrooms. We sometimes had study group sessions, helping and encouraging each other. We also had parties, which helped us not only refresh ourselves between coursework but kept us very close to each other. I feel so grateful that I could have this wonderful cohort and their support throughout the program.

What was most valuable for you from the program?

LTS offered us a lot of valuable opportunities to think and practice. I really enjoyed the micro-teaching/teaching practice sessions and exchanging ideas with each other, so that we could improve our teaching. I also did some observations and internships both in Japanese and English classrooms, in which I could see what real language classrooms were like and try out my activities and see how they worked. The professors in LTS were all great and supportive, and I felt very fortunate to learn from them. When I started teaching later, I found that what I learned from LTS is very practical and helpful.

What advice do you have for current or future graduate students?

Stay connected with your cohort. It is a very intensive program, but you do not have to pursue it alone. Help and support each other and share both fun and difficult moments. Enjoy learning from your wonderful professors and cohort. I myself could stay motivated because I could have my cohort and professors who always supported me and gave me good inspirations. And, of course, have some fun! 🙂

June 30, 2015
by LTSblog
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LTS staff spotlight Ariel Andersen

Ariel Andersen has been the undergraduate and graduate coordinator in the Department of Linguistics for almost three years. She has helped innumerable students navigate their way through the UO systems and requirements, and works closely with the LTS Director and other administration and faculty. She has had an amazing new job opportunity come up for her recently, and thus will be leaving her position with us by mid-July. Everyone in the Department will be sad to see her go. We will miss her very much! But she will leave a wonderful legacy of projects and organization that will make the next person who fills her shoes very grateful.

 

What is your favorite part of working with LTS students and faculty?

 

What will you miss LEAST about working in the Department of Linguistics?

I won’t miss the chocolate jar sitting on  my desk, taunting me all day and contributing to my cavities! But I WILL miss all of the people in the department. The graduate students, faculty, and my lovely colleague and supervisor Linda. I’m going to miss everyone so much!

June 25, 2015
by LTSblog
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Internship spotlight Eliana Lemos Almeida

Eliana Lemos Almedia is an experienced EFL teacher and current LTS student from Brazil who will be graduating in 2016.

Could you describe your internship experience?

My internship was a great experience. I was a teaching assistant of an IEP oral skills class. The main teacher was a native speaker of English, and had a long experience working with international students. I had the chance to work with students from different cultures and countries. I was aware that students came from different backgrounds, so I was careful how to act and how to choose the activities I asked students to take part in. It was challenging to know what was new for them because we did not share the same L1 (first language). However, as time passed, we figured it out. Working with images from the internet was a very good way to solve some vocabulary problems.

Overall it was an exciting experience. The exchange with students from so many different cultures was what I liked best.

Since you are already an experienced teacher, what is an example of a new insight that you gained from this internship?  (video response)

June 17, 2015
by LTSblog
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Faculty Spotlight Laura Holland

Could you tell us a little bit about your connection to the LTS program?

I have been teaching in the LTS program since Fall 2009 when I co-created and began teaching the third in a series of courses for LTS and SLAT certificate students, Language Teaching Practice. I also advise and serve as second reader on Master’s Projects and each term I work with Keli Yerian to coordinate intern and long-term observation placements with cooperating teachers in the American English Institute (AEI).

Could you briefly describe the course(s) you teach?

LT4/537 Language Teaching Practice is a cohort-driven practicum-type course where the student teachers and I co-teach an actual discussion elective course for English language students studying in the American English Institute here at UO. Together students brainstorm, rehearse, give and get feedback for our weekly classes. This course gives student teachers the opportunity to put all the theory they have been learning into practice and to develop the professional skills they will need in the workplace. Language Teaching Practice was developed especially for teachers with less than two years teaching experience, so this is the first classroom teaching experience for many of the student teachers. However, more experienced teachers often take it too, and find there are still many new ideas and practices to explore.

What is the best part about your work?

Oh, so many things! I love language teaching and so enjoy sharing that with teachers-in-training. It’s wonderful to watch new teachers’ skills develop right before our very eyes, growing more adept and reflective each week and learning from the others in the cohort. The pair of courses is fun and very engaging and has grown and changed over the years. Though I have taught these courses twice a year since 2009, each new group brings something unique and fresh and I am continually learning from my students as well. I love the practice-oriented courses and enjoy honing them a bit more each year I teach them. But perhaps the very best part is watching our students move through the program and on out into the world as our colleagues now, knowing they have had great training in our program, and have developed a strong cohort to support them beyond their time here at UO.

What advice would you give to incoming LTS students?  (video answer below)

MA Project Spotlight Tiffany VanPelt

June 11, 2015 by LTSblog | 2 Comments

Tiffany VanPelt is a member of the Language Teaching Specialization program originally from Oregon.  Her MA project’s working title is: A MALL portfolio for developing English linguistic and cultural fluency in US-Thai immersion program contexts.

What is your MA project?

Several times per year, the US-Thai Distance Learning Organization brings students from the St. Gabriel school system in Thailand to Eugene for cultural enrichment and English study.  My project aims to help provide a culturally appropriate and pedagogically sound portfolio that the LTS students that provide English instruction to these groups can draw upon while working with the program, based on integration of mobile-driven activities.

What inspired you to choose this topic?

I began working with the students back in the spring of 2014.  I developed a curriculum based on Instagram after being inspired by the studies on place-based learning in Julie Sykes’ LT610 Seminar the term prior.  Since then there have been two additional groups of exchange students, which allowed me to pilot various mobile-based activities across multiple groups, and with the involvement of other students (Al Ullman and Sarah Murphy) in instructor and co-instructor roles.  The experience was wonderful, but I definitely found the initial planning very challenging as a first time teacher.  I realized that I could help future student-teachers jumping into this context through the creation of a portfolio.

What has been most challenging about doing the project?

Juggling the research aspect of the project with my GTF and coursework has been very challenging.  I would highly recommend starting the research for the Literature Review early, since that way you can see if your research strands are going to grow or change, necessitating a different direction.  The earlier you can come to those sorts of realizations, the better positioned you’ll be coming into spring term your final year when things begin to get hectic.

What do you like best about your project?  (video response)

 

June 9, 2015
by LTSblog
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Alumni spotlight Brandon Bigelow

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Brandon Bigelow earned his MA from LTS in 2013. For his MA Project, he designed a content-based elective history course for ESL learners studying at the American English Institute at the University of Oregon. He was later able to teach this course a few times when he became a full-time instructor after graduation.

What is your favorite memory in LTS? 

My favorite LTS memory? There are countless to choose from. The support system from both my classmates and the faculty is a distinguishing feature. There was so much camaraderie and and congratulating for finished projects and presentations…and phenomenal birthday parties. However, the sympathy and encouragement during the inevitable lows cannot be understated. I, like many others, could not have done this alone, and am tremendously grateful for the beautiful souls who were placed around me.

What was most valuable for you from the program? 

The most valuable part of the LTS program was to get a taste of the many different aspects of teaching. The “2D language teacher” simply teaches and does a little grading. The “3D teacher” thoroughly considers the context and goals of the class, creates meaningful materials and curriculum, and works with many other people and resources outside of the classroom. And does a LOT of grading. Language teaching is an incredibly nuanced craft, but since I was exposed to so many facets, I have never felt completely overwhelmed in the teaching process.

What advice do you have for current or future graduate students?

Advice? Stay positive. Stay positive. Stay positive. Take things one day at a time. Take advantage of your valuable resources (your esteemed professors). Take care of yourself too. Remember that you are not doing this alone. Ask too many questions. Give hugs. Give compliments. Give smiles. Breathe.

June 9, 2015
by LTSblog
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Alumni Spotlight Ahyeong Kim

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Ahyeong Kim earned her MA from LTS in 2013. She extended her stay in Eugene by doing OPT (Optional Practical Training) teaching Korean at Lane Community College and developing a curriculum project for CAPS (Center for Asian Pacific Studies). She just returned to Korea and will be pursuing additional certification to teach Korean in a public school there. Her MA Project, titled “A Project-Based Korean Course for Young Learners in the U.S.”, was inspired by her student-teaching in the Korean afterschool club at Willagillespie Community School in Eugene.

What is your favorite memory in LTS? 

Parties! I would say “Library parties” and “Birthday parties”. Our cohort got together very often for studying and socializing. There was a table (I called it LTS table) near the microform information desk where I found my classmates studying. We sometimes ended up going to a bar after a long day of studying, which was fun. We also had lots of birthday parties for each other, almost every month!

What was most valuable for you from the program? 

LTS gave me concrete ideas of becoming a language teacher. I simply thought that I could be a teacher after finishing the program. However, I had opportunities to practice in real teaching environments throughout the program and I found myself really enjoying preparing for class and interacting with students.

What advice do you have for current or future graduate students?

LTS is a pretty intensive program. Don’t be panicked though. You can achieve your goals in the program by interacting with the faculty and classmates. Ask for help when necessary. LTS faculty and your cohort are on your side. I was very fortunate to have 2012-2013 cohort and great faculty because they were willing to help me whenever I needed.

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