Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

MA Project Spotlight Kelsey Hertel


Kelsey is a current LTS student.  Her MA Project is titled:  Integrating American English pragmatic instruction in tourism training programs in Latin America: A materials portfolio.


What is your MA Project?

I am creating a materials portfolio that will teach American English pragmatic instruction in tourism training programs in Latin America. The point of this project is to implement my materials into these programs so that tour guides trained there will be able to communicate with American tourists more easily and effectively, ensure quality customer service, and increase their profits.


What inspired you to choose this topic?

When I was traveling in South and Central America last year, I did a lot of different tour programs and treks throughout the region.  I noticed a very large disconnect between American English pragmatics and the way the tour guides were communicating with the tourists from the United States.  Because of this, the tourists felt offended at times or felt disrespected – and it wasn’t at all intentional. The tour guides just weren’t aware that their methods of communication were incorrect or inappropriate when speaking English and were creating these unsuccessful transactions with their clients.  I realized then that there was a huge need for this kind of pragmatic instruction in their English and tourism training programs.


What is the best thing about your MA Project?  What’s made it challenging?

What advice would you give incoming LTS students about the MA Project?

Pick a topic that you love, that really inspires you, and that you could possibly use in the future.  You will be spending so much time on so many different areas and aspects of this project, that you should love it and love spending the time on it.  Having a personal connection makes it so much more doable, easy, and enjoyable!

Author: Tiffany VanPelt

Tiffany VanPelt is a member of the 2014/2015 LTS cohort and Social Media Coordinator.

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