Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

September 29, 2015
by LTSblog

Faculty Spotlight Keli Yerian

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

I am a faculty member in the Linguistics Department, and have been the Director of the LTS MA program since 2010. I have taught in the LTS program since 2007. Until recently, I also taught classes in the American English Institute (AEI), so I have a connection to the AEI as well.

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

I teach a few of the core courses in the program, including Language Teaching Planning in Fall term, Curriculum and Materials Development in Winter term, and the Master’s Project class in the final Summer term. In the Planning class, students practice designing motivating lessons for language learners while aligning student learning outcomes and assessments. In the Curriculum class, students build their own language courses week by week. In the Master’s Project class, students are intensively working on creating their own capstone projects. I also organize an LTS Orientation class in Fall and facilitate a Microteaching workshop class in Spring. I’m pretty busy!

What is the best part about your work?

There are many best parts! I love being part of the whole cycle of the program and getting to know all the cohort members so well. As program advisor, I meet each new graduate student from the start, get to know them during the year in classes, and am one of the first to congratulate them the day they submit the official final draft of their project manuscripts. I also value hearing ideas and suggestions for improving the program from students and faculty and then being able to help actually make them a reality as Director.

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

September 23, 2015
by LTSblog

Alumni spotlight Fernanda Gonçalves

Fernanda Gonçalves (formerly Nunes) graduated from LTS in 2013. Fernanda was already an experienced English teacher in Brazil who had participated in the American English Institute’s E-Teacher program before she joined LTS. In 2013 while she was at the UO, Fernanda was the subject of a slideshow project by UO Journalism student Nicole Trumbo, who documented some of Fernanda’s hopes and dreams as an international graduate student (while Fernanda also was learning Salsa dancing).

Screenshot 2015-09-23 14.29.15

Looking back on this slideshow, what is your reaction now?

In this slideshow I cite the goals that made me go to the US. And now looking back I see they were all accomplished.  Now I have a better job, I am a better teacher and I have more time for my daughter…which means that I am also a better mom!

What and where are you teaching now?

I am teaching English as a foreign language at a Federal Institution for high school students and it has been the job of my dreams. I am deeply happy and grateful for being a federal teacher now.

What is an example of something you learned in the LTS program that you still use today?

To better plan my classes, there is no better lesson plan format than the one I learned in the LTS program. It has helped me tremendously and thanks to it, my lessons have become more coherent and my students have been learning much more and much better now.

What is your best memory of LTS?

To choose a best memory is almost impossible because I had so many. I learned so much with all the classes that I had. All the professors not only taught me unforgettable lessons, but they also inspired me for life. The cohort was also so amazing. Each unique classmate was so special to each other that we all became a big family. We were always together…to study or to party…we could always count on each other. However, if I have to mention a very special moment, it is my master’s project presentation. I could not believe it when I saw most of my friends there for me, not only from the cohort, but also the friends I had made inside and outside the University of Oregon. My AEI students were also there and some of my professors. So, when I started my project presentation, I knew I was among friends…and it gave me the strength and confidence I needed to try my best. Seeing that room full of friends not only gave me one of the best experiences/memories of my life, but it also showed me that when one has friends, one has it all!

September 13, 2015
by LTSblog

Alumni spotlight Sothy Kea

Sothy Kea was a Fulbright student from Cambodia who graduated in 2014. His MA Project was titled, “An Integrated Oral Skills English Pronunciation Course for Cambodian College Students”. Below he shares his current perspective on what was most useful and memorable from his time in LTS (photo below is at Spencer Butte, Eugene, OR).

What did you want to accomplish when you applied to the LTS program?

When I first applied to the program, I wished to improve my knowledge about English language teaching methodology, research, linguistics, and curriculum design. Upon program completion, I was hoping to provide assistance in revising curricula, conducting workshops, and teaching in the undergraduate and graduate teacher training programs at my workplace: Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom Penh.

KEA Sothy 1What is your teaching or administrative position now?

Now I am holding two positions. I am a university lecturer teaching in a Bachelor’s Degree in a TEFL program and a Master’s Degree in TESOL at the Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom Penh. I am also a Language Program Manager at CIA First International School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In this position, I am responsible for managing various language programs at the school. At the moment, I am managing the General English Program, and in the future, I will expand this program and develop other language programs.

Now that you have returned home, what do you think was most useful from the LTS program?

The curriculum of LTS Program is of sound quality. A large number of subjects that I took are both directly and indirectly relevant and useful for my current work. For instance, I am currently teaching the same subject of Academic Writing for Graduate Students in MA in TESOL and teaching Applied Linguistics subject in BA in TEFL Program at my university in which a great deal of knowledge and content of English Grammar and Linguistics Principles and Second Language Acquisition courses  are relevant and useful. Plus, working as the Language Program manager, I have to revise the current curriculum and develop new ones. Thus, the Curriculum and Materials Development course and my curriculum design Master’s project are of great help to me. They allow me to analyze the program, effectively identify its problems, and propose feasible solutions. The rest of the subjects in LTS have also indirectly contributed to my understanding about language learning and teaching and better teaching performance.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time in Oregon?

If I could recall, one of my favorite memories in Oregon is my graduation day. This is one of the best moments of my academic life at UO. It marked the achievement of a milestone and the great result of hard work throughout the program. I was so excited to have such achievement and to see my cohort having the same feeling. It was also fantastic to have the presence of my professors, friends, and relatives on this special occasion. The moment I received the certificate on stage was when I thought to myself that “this is the result of not only over one year of sweat and blood at the UO in the USA but also a whole life of education, and I am thankful to all the people who are part of this”.

September 6, 2015
by LTSblog

Alumni spotlight Beth Sheppard

Beth Sheppard graduated from LTS in 2008 and is now an Instructor at the American English Institute (AEI). Her MA project title is, “Bringing Your Language Home: A Workshop and Materials for Pacific Northwest Families Involved in Language Revitalization”.

What did you value most from the LTS program?

My favorite part was the sense of community among our cohort of students and with our instructors. I really enjoyed getting to know every single person I studied with, whether it was collaborative class work, cohort lunch gatherings, professor office hours, or learning from my project advisor. I also remember how much I enjoyed the taste of theory we were treated to in the first summer term. These were yummy classes!

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

I’d say the attitude we worked under was more important than any piece of information. In the LTS program we practiced cooperating with colleagues and focused our explorations of teaching on meeting students’ actual needs. These key principles are still the basis for my teaching.

What advice would you give to new LTS students?bethandtoby

Try to open yourself to every topic in every class. The ones you don’t think you’re excited about might end up being the most memorable. Pick a topic early for your project. Read your way into the literature over winter break.


September 3, 2015
by Tiffany VanPelt
1 Comment

My LTS Experience: Wedad Al-lahji

My LTS Experience

by Wedad Al-lahjiWedad A

For an international student who has never lived in a foreign country before, who is a mother of three daughters, and who has not been in school for eight years, beginning the program was scary but eventually turned out to be the most wonderful rewarding experience. Through the two years I spent in the program I learned and experienced a lot through being in an encouraging friendly environment.

My first term in the program was scary and very challenging but my teachers were so supportive and provided me with guidance about how I can meet my courses’ requirements. After that, it was easy for me to take responsibility for succeeding in graduate school with all the scaffolding we have in the LTS program.

Besides the great amount of academic knowledge I learned in different courses, I had the chance to be in different teaching experiences through teaching in Yamada Language Center, leading the Arabic Circle in the Mills International Center, and different internships. My first internship was in a second year Arabic class. It was so helpful because I was not familiar at all with this context – teaching Arabic in a foreign context. It also prepared me for teaching my own class at Yamada. The second internship was at Center for Applied Second Language Studied (CASLS). I worked with my friend on creating online Arabic reading and listening lessons for students learning Arabic. It was also a great experience of creating language-learning materials.

My third and last internship was in an English Oral Skills 1 class. It was surprising for me how it is possible for communicative interaction to take place in such a beginner level class. There were a lot of opportunities for students to communicate and express themselves with what language they had. What was challenging and interesting at the same time was to prevent myself from using my L1 (Arabic) that I share with some students especially because it is difficult sometimes to use English all the time with novice learners. However, I succeed in that and learned how to find ways to communicate with the students. This experience was so rewarding and I will always remember the first time I was teaching in that class and how all the students there were so supportive, participated, and interacted very well with my instructions.

Finally, I highly encourage any international student thinking of joining the program to apply. The program is designed very well to help students accomplish their teaching goals, and there is a great friendly international community at the University of Oregon.

Wedad is 2015 graduate of the LTS Program from Saudi Arabia.  The title of her MA project is Implementing Communicative Language Teaching in Saudi Colleges’ English Preparatory Programs.

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