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)