Language Teaching Specialization Blog Site at the University of Oregon

June 3, 2017
by gkm

Student Spotlight – Reeya Zhao

Student Spotlight – Reeya Zhao

Reeya Zhao presenting a poster of her project titled, “A Career-Exploration Course in Mandarin Chinese for Young Learners,” at the UO 2016-2017 Graduate Research Forum

Tell us about yourself! Where are you from? Where have you studied? Do you have any hobbies?

My name is Reeya Zhao, and I’m from Beijing, China, where I spent most of my life before turning 18. The city of Beijing is a mix of ancient, modern, domestic and overseas sites and cultures. People come and go since they can find both opportunities and challenges there. At the age of 18, I decided to leave to attend the East China Normal University in Shanghai, and that’s where I found the Disney summer internship and the OIIP programs in 2014. I worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for two months as a merchandise representative before OIIP. This was technically my first overseas job, and I had so much fun because we often stocked past midnight after the garden closed and I met many Disney characters backstage. OIIP is an international internship program at the University of Oregon. During that 5 months, I took two courses at the UO while working as an intern in the kindergarten department of Mt. Vernon elementary school, with two teachers and two teaching assistants. After that, I made my decision to be a language teacher and come back some day pursuing further education.

Has the LTS program brought you any extracurricular opportunities?

Now, it has been almost one year for me studying in the LTS program. As an international student, I feel it’s very intensive yet worthwhile. By following the suggestions of which courses to take from our coordinator Dr. Keli Yerian, I feel that each term is a little bit more intensive than the previous one. The Gaokao (China College Entrance Examination) was the first high pressure educational experience for me, and the LTS cohort and program are the first ones to push me to become more professional in various ways. In the Fall and Winter terms, I participated in the Edison Chinese Club Program. Two other Chinese cohort members (Yan and Adam) and I planned and taught Mandarin lessons together after school on every Friday, and were directed by Professors Keli Yerian and Lara Ravitch. This was challenging at the beginning because not only did we need to think of attractive activities and how to best sequence all of it, we also pre-planned for imagined classroom management problems, and sometimes dealt with unexpected situations. For example, with planned small group activities, some kids might feel like working alone on some days, and we would come up with an “emergency plan” to let him/her be out of the group for a while. However, we always reminded ourselves to encourage them to come back eventually, because cooperation is one of the essential skills we want the learners to develop further in our Chinese club.

Tell us a little bit about your Master’s project! What is the context of your project?

My Master’s project is a course design for young learners of ages 10-14 studying at international schools in China. I believe that students within this age range are developing their awareness of future careers, and they need the language as a bridge between them and the outside world in this foreign country. Due to these reasons, I’m thinking of a career-exploration course taught in Mandarin Chinese to formally develop their multi-language and multi–culture abilities.

What are the most valuable aspects of the LTS program as you’ve experienced it so far?

I also value the circumstances of discussing, sharing, and working together with all the cohort members in LTS. I also love the various connections provided by all my instructors and the courses they lead. For example, in the Talking with Ducks course led by Professor Laura Holland, we had three classes each week. On Tuesdays, all the TWD teachers carefully planned and discussed the chosen activities together. On Thursdays, we actually taught in an English conversation college course for international students. Then, on Fridays, all the LTS cohorts got into the class to debrief and reflect how we did on those Thursdays. Last but not least, I also like the LT 536 course design and the LT 549 testing and assessment classes where I was pushed to design a course and assessments. In doing so, I was given the motivation to research and look into the use of authentic materials.

November 12, 2015
by Annelise Marshall

Student Spotlight: Sara Li


Sara Li (Chinese name Hsin-Jung, Li) is an LTS graduate student from Taiwan. She has 3 years of high school EFL teaching experiences and 5 years of educational administrative experiences and  loves language teaching and learning. unnamed (2)

Why did you choose to come to the UO for the LTS program?
 I chose to come to the UO for the LTS program because it provides rich language learning and teaching courses for future teachers of all kinds of languages. Apart from many other TESOL programs in the United States, the LTS program stands out because it is an intense program with integrative courses in linguistics and pedagogy.
Tell me about your work with the Chinese club?
Thanks to Dr. Yerian’s suggestion, I joined the Chinese Language and Culture Club (CLCC) this term as one of the three Chinese teachers in the Chinese club. We design a Chinese course for 3-5 graders in Edison elementary school, who show interest in learning Chinese and some of whom have family members from Chinese speaking countries. The purpose of this Chinese club is for students to enjoy learning Chinese language and culture. In the fall term the theme of the course is Daily Life in China, and the topics include basic Chinese greeting, Chinese etiquette, Chinese pictographic, body parts, famous sports in China, and many useful sentence structures. Every week we co-design and co-teach a 105 minute class, and we implement many interactive group activities to facilitate students’ comprehension and learning motivation.
 What has been most rewarding about working with the Chinese club?unnamed (1)
This is my first time teaching both Chinese and elementary school students, so it has been quite a special and inspiring experience. This teaching experience allows me to reexamine my understanding of Chinese language and culture, and I find students’ genuine feedback, enthusiasm and curiosity in Chinese language and culture really motivating and rewarding. I am often surprised at how much they already know about Chinese and how much more they would like to learn. It has been a blessing to be their teacher to guide and participate in their learning process.
What is one thing that you’re looking forward to in your remaining time in LTS?
I would really love to spend more time with my LTS cohort, all of whom are supportive, innovative, and compassionate about language teaching. Looking back at the past 5 months, we have had so much fun in class where our ideas emerge and took off like rockets, as well as out of class where we share our beliefs, cuisine, and love for each other and language education. There are many things that I look forward to, such as intensive in-class discussion, group collaboration, useful seminars and lectures, doing the MA project, and many more times to hang out and form dreams. Coming to UO for the LTS program has been one of the wisest choices I have ever made.
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