Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

August 19, 2016
by megt

Faculty Spotlight: Joana Jansen

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What is the nature of your work at the University of Oregon? 

I am the Associate Director of the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) which is one of the research institutes and centers on campus. I am privileged to be able to support projects focused on revitalization and linguistic description of Native American languages, and students and community members working on these projects. In the part of the world that we now know as the state of Oregon, there were once 18-25 languages, many with multiple dialects. Most are not spoken today by elders who grew up speaking the language, but more and more are being spoken by language learners. There is so much interest in passion in returning the languages to daily use – it is inspiring!

My work at NILI is quite varied. There is not ‘typical’ day or week. I could be drafting a grant proposal, working on a research project with tribal partners, supervising GRFs to disseminate information and products via NILI’s website, meeting with Linguistics students, planning for NILI’s Summer Institute, and/or delivering online workshops and trainings to Native language teachers.

How are you associated with LTS?

I have worked with a number of LTS students, particularly those working on Native American language projects. Their work and ideas strengthen NILI. I have also been a reader for LTS Masters projects. I have not taught in LTS classes regularly, but this term I am teaching Linguistic Principles and Second Language Acquisition.

What is your favorite language of those that are taught at UO? 

The Ichishkíin language is spoken by elders of several tribes in Oregon and Washington. Most of the work I have done on documentation and curriculum has been focused on Ichishkíin – we’ve been teaching it at UO since Yakama Elder Virginia Beavert came here to get her PhD in 2007. LTS students and grads have been key to the class. In the early years of the class, LTS student Roger Jacob developed course materials and co-taught with me and Virginia. Now, LTS grad Regan Anderson is teaching it with Virginia, and other students are involved building and enhancing curriculum, which is shared with teachers at the tribes. The language is also taught at NILI Summer Institute and that brings together students and teachers of Ichishkiin from across the region, including UO students.

What do you enjoy most about working with language educators?

It’s a cliché but – I learn so much from the teachers I work with! Their love for their students is inspiring. Because I work in many different communities, I can facilitate connections between people and help to share ideas and inspiration.

You are teaching one of the first classes our cohort is taking – do you have any words of wisdom or advice for them as they continue in the program?

I’ve seen a lot of students grow in skills and confidence during the LTS program, and the relationships built in the cohort are really important. As a group, you hold a lot of knowledge: help and learn from one another. Also, even though you are in graduate school, take time for yourself and your family, keep a balance in your lives. Exercise, play, relax, go outside!

June 22, 2016
by Annelise Marshall

MA Project Spotlight: Annelise

Annelise Marshall is a soon-to-be graduate of the LTS program, who will begin teaching in Mexico this fall.
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What is the title of your MA project?
Engaging International Students in the U.S. University Experience

Why did you choose this topic?
My experiences as an undergraduate gave me a passion for Student Life, and when I started getting to know some English learners at the U of O I started thinking about how beneficial involvement with the university environment can be. I wanted to see how I could help students increase their engagement to provide a more positive experience while at the U of O while also benefiting their language learning.

How will this project influence your future teaching?
I do hope to someday work with university level learners in the U.S., and I’ll certainly draw on this project then to provide a better learning experience, but I also hope to use elements of my project while teaching abroad, as I will be in the fall. I’ve been able to learn a lot about the use of authentic materials and pragmatics instruction that I think will be helpful in any teaching context.

What do you like best about your project?
I’ve been able to talk to a lot of students, teachers, and administrators who have reacted really positively to my topic. It’s really motivating to hear from others that they feel the need my project addresses.

June 1, 2016
by Annelise Marshall

LTS: Eye of the Tiger


The group after a good run at Amazon Park in South Eugene

LTS students have a lot on their plates—from working on MA projects to internships and GTFs. For a little stress relief, some LTSers have started a weekly running club, which has come to be known as the LTS Eye of the Tiger. Since January, Eye of the Tiger has met at least once a week.

While everyone goes at their own pace, Eye of the Tiger is a supportive space where everyone is encouraged to meet their own goals. LTS student Juli– arguably the founder of Eye of the Tiger– even crafts individual workouts for attendants!


Some of the 5k runners after the race

Earlier this term, some Eye of the Tiger runners participated in races during the Eugene Marathon. 7 students ran the 5k, while 2 ran the half marathon. All together the LTS students ran a total of 47.9 miles!

Next term, many students plan to run the Butte to Butte, a local 10k which occurs every 4th of July.


Eye of the Tiger has also resulted in some special LTS merchandise. 13327488_1083406275052096_1801707673359109232_n13307497_839247680415_298908721876199184_n













Juli opening her cowbell at the Prefontaine Classic

Finally, Eye of the Tiger members pitched in to buy a custom cow bell for Juli, for her future workout leading, and to thank her for work on the club. While Juli is a serious runner who has multiple races wins, she is always supportive of others, no matter where they are in their running (or walking) journey.


May 19, 2016
by Annelise Marshall

3 Minute Thesis

Last Friday, Javid, an LTS student from Afghanistan presented at the U of O Grad School’s Three Minute Thesis, a competition where students from varying disciplines present their work in– you guessed it– three minutes. Here are Javid’s thoughts on the experience.

Throw Your O

What is your MA project about?

I started my presentation by asking the audience to imagine a situation where they had to write their thesis in a foreign language. Academic writing in our first language is already challenging let alone if we do it in a foreign language. Therefore, my MA project focuses on making academic writing an easier and a less frustrating process for undergraduate students in Afghanistan who are required to write their thesis in English. My project uses text-modeling and process writing as its framework to help students become more autonomous writers. The text-modeling approach helps students to use text features such as structure, organization, and style as a model for writing. In addition, process writing breaks down the process of writing into manageable pieces such as prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing before students publish their work. During this process, students also benefit from self-reflections, peer reviews, and portfolios, which help them to become more independent writers. They will also improve their research skills and strategies such as paraphrasing, summarizing, annotating, and citation. Research suggests that the combination of these two approaches is an effective framework for an academic writing course.

Why did you decide to present at 3MT?

As someone who has been involved in academic debates in Afghanistan and Toastmaster International here at UO, I always find any academic competitions interesting. I attended the 3MT presentation in 2015 and found it an interesting academic experience too. Not only my passion for academic experience was a motive, but also the opportunity to think deeply about my project. Moreover, it was a great practice to explain my research in a language understandable to the public.

How do you feel after presenting? Would you recommend the experience to other students? 

Throw Your O

The finalists

Presenting at 3MT competition enriched my academic experiences in the United States. It was quite a challenging process, from deciding what to include in one slide to my 3 minutes speech and connecting them together in a way that is engaging, simple and innovative. I did not expect to compete among the finalists. However, when I made it to the finals, I felt proud and accomplished after the presentation.

I definitely recommend to other students to participate in this educational presentation. You will learn many things about yourself, your project, and also about other fascinating research from various disciplines. It is an opportunity for you to develop your presentation skills and also receive feedback from the judges. Finally, the winners of the competition receive monetary prizes if you need some extrinsic motivation to present.

May 4, 2016
by Annelise Marshall


Many LTS students work with language learners in the Eugene area as interns, GTFs, volunteers, tutors, and more, but there is another unique opportunity you may not know about. The University of Oregon is home to the Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS), one of just sixteen National Foreign Language Resource Centers which work to develop and share resources for language teaching and learning. Working with CASLS is an additional opportunity for LTS students and alumni.


LTS and CASLS members recently participated in the 5k during the Eugene marathon. Although both groups had their own teams, they got together to take a photo before the race

Currently, LTS folks working with CASLS include: two LTS alumni who are current CASLS staff, two current students who are interns, and one current student who is a GTF. Additionally, Dr. Julie Sykes, the CASLS director regularly teaches an elective course for LTS students on pragmatics in language teaching.

To find out more about the kind of work that results from partnerships between CASLS and LTS, check out this blog post featuring the work of current LTS student and CASLS intern, Becky. Becky interned with CASLS from Summer Term 2015 to Winter Term 2016, and created an “interactive story” mobile app for language learners called Finders Keepers. 

For more information about using games in language teaching and learning, browse other posts on Games2Teach, which is run by LTS alum Ben!

March 31, 2016
by megt

Faculty Research Spotlight: Anna Mikhaylova

Anna Mikhaylova is faculty in the Linguistics Department whose research focuses on second and heritage language acquisition and bilingualism. She is teaching LT 611 MA Project I this term.



How are you connected to the LTS program?

My biggest connection to the LTS program is through the projects that LTS students develop as a capstone of their degree. In the past four years I have taught the first of the MA Project (LT 611) course series. It has been exciting and rewarding to watch each student develop their ideas into a well-developed and well-researched argument and create a foundation for their final product (teaching or materials portfolio, course design, or an action research project, which they would be developing in the second course of the series). I have also enjoyed teaching Second Language Teaching Planning (LT 536) and serving as advisor and reader for several MA projects.

What other classes do you teach?

The Second Language Acquisition courses (LING 544 and LING 644) and graduate seminars on Bilingualism and Heritage Language Acquisition, which I teach for the General Linguistics MA and PhD program, have also been open to LTS students. It certainly has been a privilege to have LTS students provide a language teacher’s perspective and insight the theoretical discussions we have had in the LING classes. And I also pride myself in the fact that several MA projects were supported by the readings or even grounded in the research projects LTS students developed in those Linguistics classes.

What is your research about?

Much of my work has tackled finding an empirical and theory-based explanation to the observation that both foreign (FL) and heritage language (HL) speakers have a particularly difficult time with target-like use and successful comprehension of functional morphology. A recent exciting project bridges an important gap in research by focusing on K-12 rather than college-level FL and HL learners. This study of oral narratives collected at the beginning and end of an intensive Russian dual immersion program throws light on language maintenance and effects of re-exposure in international adoptees. My latest project, still in progress, has involved by far the most participants and has the most immediate implications for instruction. We have so far tested 314 FL learners and 35 HL learners of Spanish to see whether low-intermediate learners are able to fully comprehend meaning of a text while attending to grammatical form (or whether such a task is too taxing). In the photo, are my research assistants in the Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Lab, Joana Kraski and Aleya Elkins, working through the hundreds of test packets.

Research Assistants busy at work.

Research Assistants busy at work.

March 3, 2016
by Annelise Marshall

Grad Forum Reactions

Last Thursday four LTS students presented at the Grad Student Research Forum, sharing their MA projects with the U of O community. 

12787211_10208679962455920_902268026_o“I presented a poster on my capstone project teaching portfolio. Not only did preparing for the poster help me organize my thoughts and clarify my overall project, but the poster presentation session also contributed to the development of my project. I received a lot of positive feedback and interesting inquiries, and the criticism I received and doubts that some people had were helpful too, as they will inform how I ultimately present the project in its final stage. While preparing this poster while still in the midst of research was nerve-wracking, I think my overall project will be better for it, since I am treating the research forum as a feedback session. The experience itself of preparing and presenting a poster was eye-opening as well, and I believe I will be glad for it when I present in the future in higher stakes environments. I would recommend that anyone with ongoing or finished research try out a research forum; it’s definitely worth it.”–Kathryn


“Grad forum helped me achieve three strategic objectives that were essential for IMG_0988me at this stage in the game. It forced me to 1) bring my capstone ideas together into a coherent (enough) set of ideas to 2) have the chance to share my project with others, and 3) reevaluate, in light of my interactions with others the aspects of the project that seemed sticky and the parts that seemed flat. For me, when doing this kind of work it’s really important to air the idea out. Talking to people about what I’m working on is a super productive way to process my own ideas, as if from another person’s perspective, and reach the next level of clarity.”–Christopher



12800194_10105953647105371_7697730782973052671_n“Grad Forum takes place during the early stages of working on our final projects. I’ve been thinking about my topic since about last August, but I still have a lot of work to do in the next two terms, so it was challenging to create a full poster presentation. However, it was really valuable to do this while I still have time to adjust certain parts of my project. My project focuses on ESL university students at the U of O, so I was able to talk to a lot of people who aren’t in the field but have experience working with international students, or who have studied abroad, and I got a lot of interesting feedback. It was also a positive challenge to have to explain my whole project in brief conversations, and to explain it in a way that was accessible to people not in the field.” –Annelise



“Presenting at the Grad Forum was scary, stressful, intimidating, and one of the most fun experiences I’ve had! It was great to be able to represent LTS, showcase the awesome stuff I get to do in the program, and get recognized for my hard work. Summing 12472542_482724448580119_6165892594019670247_nup an entire year of effort into five short minutes and three PowerPoint slides was a really intense experience. However, it was really great practice for me, as a language teacher, to be able to talk about a topic unfamiliar to the audience as concisely and articulately as possible, while keeping them engaged and staying within the set time frame of five minutes. It was also great to have a day set aside to connect with other graduate students and learn about their work, get feedback from faculty in other departments, and be a part of the larger culture of graduate school. I’m doing the program in two years, so I’ll get another chance next year… and honestly, I’m already looking forward to it!”–Becky

February 18, 2016
by Annelise Marshall

Student Spotlight: Annelise

Annelise Marshall is interested in student life and learner engagement. When she’s not in class or working with ESL students she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, reading, and cooking.


Annelise at Oregon’s famous Crater Lake

What is your internship context?

This term I’m working with a beginning ESL class at Lane Community College. I’ve spent some time with various classes at the AEI, so it’s been really interesting to be in an environment that’s so different.

What is most challenging about your internship?

This is my first time working with complete beginners, and it can be very different from working with more advanced students. I’m often able to answer student questions in Spanish, but I’ve had to learn new strategies for communicating with students who speak a language I don’t share. Luckily I’m working with an experienced teacher who is great at working with beginning students, so it’s really been a great learning opportunity for me.

What has been most rewarding about your internship?

Getting to know the students and seeing them progress. It’s an evening class, so many of the students are older or have full time jobs. They are working really hard just to make it to class, so it’s really exciting to see their work pay off.

What are you most looking forward to in your remaining time in LTS?

The class of 2016 turned in our proposals earlier this month, so soon we’ll be able to get into the thick of it. I’m looking forward to digging deeper into my topic, and also hearing more about everyone else’s projects.



June 30, 2015
by LTSblog

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!

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