Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

Student Spotlight: Ava


Ava Swanson is originally from Harrisburg, Oregon. She graduated from LCC and UO before entering LTS. When she needs to destress from grad school responsibilities, she likes to play catch, eat burritos, and pet her fluffy guinea pigs.
 Ava in San Francisco
Why did you decide to join the LTS program?
 I came to the LTS program two years after completing my undergrad at University of Oregon. I studied Spanish, Latin American Studies, and also obtained a SLAT certificate. I worked some odd jobs after graduation and was trying to decide my next step. I knew it would be related to language teaching, so I interviewed some of the language teachers I knew about their personal and professional experiences that helped them get their current jobs. It was during an interview with Laura Holland, my former SLAT instructor, that the LTS program was brought to my attention. The program offered what I was looking for in terms of my professional development.
What is the topic of your MA project?
 My project is a materials portfolio for teachers of low-level immigrant students in a community ESL community. It’s based on the fact that while many immigrants move to the US for better economic and professional opportunities, many don’t have access to these opportunities if they aren’t literate in English. My lessons will use children’s literature books to help low-level students develop their literacy skills. An additional focus of the project is teaching these parent-students how to share the books read in class with their young children.  This helps parents practice their reading skills, develops children’s emergent literacy skills, and creates a culture of literacy in the home.
Why did you choose this topic?
 I chose to investigate literacy and children’s literature because I definitely grew up with a culture of reading in my home. My dad read to me often when I was young and trips to the library and bookstore were a regular occurrence. I still have a lot of my childhood books on my bookshelves. I love re-reading and sharing them with my younger family members as an adult. 
 I chose to focus on immigrant students for my target audience because I’ve met and learned about some really amazing people who have come to the US for better opportunities for themselves and their families. It can be really difficult to settle in a new country, especially when you don’t speak the majority language.
What are you looking forward to the most in your remaining time in LTS?
 Now that we’re nearing the end of the program, I’m really looking forward to showing my finished project to my family. They’re really happy that I’m pursuing my educational goals and my dad and my girlfriend have been especially supportive. I can’t wait to hand them my finished portfolio!

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