LTS

Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

July 6, 2016
by Annelise Marshall
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Student Spotlight: Keisuke

CIMG2416Keisuke Musashino, a native of Chiba, Japan, has taught Japanese immersion classes at Mt. Tabor Middle School in Portland since 1998. Prior to finding his place in Portland, Keisuke spent a year in Tennessee as a student on a study abroad program and three years in Georgia as a student. Having been a duck since last June, he enjoys everything the “tracktown” offers and spending time in the library.

 

Why did you choose to come to the LTS program?

The short answer is that I felt that I needed to study more about teaching language. Here is a longer version: when I was invited to be an intern at Mt. Tabor in 1997, I had no training in teaching the Japanese language. A short teacher training course over the summer before starting my internship and the internship experience itself really got my feet wet for teaching, and it did not take much time for me to realize the different culture of teaching and learning in the US, and complexity of teaching Japanese to middle school immersion students. Furthermore, being a classroom teacher at a public school gives you a whole lot of responsibility in and outside of classroom. So, I learned many things the hard way.

At my school, my colleague and I worked for several years to create a curriculum for each grade level emphasizing both Social Studies content and Japanese language. My responsibility is teaching the language (including grammar), mostly through thematic units. Without extensive knowledge about the Japanese language and how to teach it, I have basically taught myself how to do it using whatever resources available. That ignited my desire to go back to school, so I decided to take a leave of absence for a year. As I started looking for institutions, I thought about the U of O based on the location and knowing that they take a leadership role in teaching languages with CASLS. Then I ran into the LTS website and was really intrigued with what the program would offer. After communicating with Keli by e-mail, I was convinced that the LTS program would give me the best learning opportunity. Plus, I could get to live in Eugene for a year! So, it was an easy choice for me.

What advice would you give to other experienced teachers who are interested in the LTS program?

There are so many good things about this program. First of all, I think this is a rare program that has a really good balance between theory and practice, and even teachers with years of experience will be able to learn a lot from each class the program offers. In addition to the core classes such as lesson planning, curriculum design and assessment design, students can also take some elective classes based on their needs. For example, I took classes about discipline management, Japanese pedagogical grammar and another pedagogy class specifically for East Asian languages. They are all important for me as a teacher who teaches middle school Japanese immersion classes. Also, if you have teaching experience, you can really reflect on your past teaching practices with what you learned in class and share your experience with your classmates who are just entering the profession. Also, I should note that the program can be completed in five terms (starting in the summer term and ending in the summer term in the following year) – that was another reason why I chose the program. I felt I could get the most out of my year-long study leave. Oh, one more thing – this is a wonderful learning community with caring professors and energetic/fun classmates! I feel I am fortunate to be able to get to know them, study with them, socialize with them and run with them (please see the post about LTSEOTT – LTS Eye of the Tiger – on this blog!). I would honestly say my passion for teaching is even stronger now.

What is your MA project on?

The student body in the Japanese immersion program has become more linguistically diverse, and the class size has also become larger (typical for public schools, I guess). Besides, teaching middle school students is sometimes challenging. They are somewhere between children and adults, are usually honest, but very self-conscious, and have different interests and learning styles. With all those elements, I struggled with reaching all the students last year and keeping them motivated. That experience inspired me to investigate challenges specifically in the middle school immersion context, L2 identity, motivation and differentiated instruction. Based on the findings, I would like to create examples of teaching materials for my class that I can use when I go back to my school after finishing the program.

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

I cannot believe there is only one term left. While I really enjoyed all the classes I took in the last four terms and the experience of working with students in the second-year Japanese students as a GTF for the Fall and Winter term, I am most definitely excited about giving my full attention to my final project this summer. Also, as I only have a week until I go back to my school after graduating in August, I look forward to enjoying the summer weather in Eugene, being outside whenever I can, hanging out with my wonderful classmates and just having fun.

January 2, 2016
by LTSblog
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MA Project Spotlight Maile Warrington

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Maile Warrington just finished her capstone MA project in the LTS program, titled “Authentic Japanese Media Materials for Teaching Keigo (Honorific Speech) and Different Speech Styles to JFL Learners”.

What is your MA project?

I developed a teaching portfolio that provides options for Japanese instructors to teach keigo (Japanese honorifics/honorific speech) to college intermediate to advanced-level students through authentic Japanese media materials, specifically authentic contemporary Japanese talks shows and comedy shows.

Why did you choose this topic?

Using appropriate keigo and speech styles is one of the most important aspects of Japanese culture. However, ironically, it is usually not taught in balance and is said to be the one of the most difficult language aspects to acquire. I was a Japanese language Graduate Teaching Fellow for almost two years, and got many comments from students and teachers about how hard and challenging it is to both learn and teach appropriate speech styles only through the textbook. Many students will talk to their instructors using inappropriate speech styles and thus are “rude” unintentionally. From these experiences, I started to think that there should be a way to teach honorifics and different speech styles meaningfully and interactively using materials other than the traditional textbook.

What advice would you give new LTS students about their own MA projects?

The most important advice I would like to give new LTS students about the project is to try to decide the topic as soon as possible so that they can start gathering related research and literatures about that topic in the earlier stage of their program. I also advise students to (this might be something that I don’t even have to mention) choose the topic that most interests them so they can maintain their motivation throughout the program. Another advice is to use and manage their time efficiently, especially at the end of the program when they are trying to finish up their project.

What do you like most about your portfolio?

One of the things that I like about my project is how I used authentic Japanese talk shows and comedy shows as a material to teach different honorifics and speech styles instead of movies or dramas that are more common to be incorporated in language classes. I also liked how many of my activities for this portfolio could serve as “stand-alone” activities, which Japanese instructors could pick, modify, and integrate in their pre-developed daily lessons.

November 17, 2015
by LTSblog
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Student Spotlight Seung Eun Kim

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SeungEun Kim is originally from Korea. Like Sue Yoon (see our earlier blog post in November), she is pursuing an MA in LTS and an MA in East Asian Languages and Literatures at the same time.

You were an English major before entering the LTS program. What attracted you to English?

English was the first language that I fell in love with. So majoring in English was the one thing that I really wanted to do no matter what. Since I like reading literature in both Korean and English, I wanted to spend my undergraduate years reading and exploring my thoughts about the books that I read, and being an English major really made my dreams come true. I was able to spend my years as an undergraduate reading a lot of books, but more importantly, I learned how to read literature from more critical perspectives. I am glad that I have a background in English literature from my years as an undergraduate since I believe it has prepared me for how I will go about educating my future (language) students.

Now you are doing two concurrent MA degrees in LTS and East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL). How did you shift over to a love of Korean as well?

Since being a foreign student here in America, I am proud that my national language of Korean is being taught here. I think my patriotism and love of my culture motivated me a lot to want to teach Korean. Also, as a bilingual speaker, I wanted to be more available to others who are learning Korean. Since I am a native speaker of Korean, I thought it would be great if I could be a source for those studying the language here.

What do you like best about teaching at the university?

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to teach Korean at a university in America. This opportunity has allowed me to collaborate with both international and American students together in my classes. Although my students are from different countries and cultures, and speak different languages, it has been great to see how they come together as Korean language speakers. When the students have the will to learn Korean, their passion for the language and love of Korean culture and literature really boost their improvement and are a great source of motivation. Moreover, teaching at the university is even more special to me because not only can I teach, but I can continuously increase my knowledge as well.

What is your idea for your MA project you will do in LTS?

I am interested in teaching language using literature. I am researching how literature as an authentic material should be used in the language classroom and appropriately chosen depending on the students’ language proficiencies.

What advice would you give applicants who might want to do concurrent MA degrees like you are?

The first advice I would give someone, based on my own experiences, is to believe in yourself when you are very busy and things are extremely stressful from all the classwork that you have to do. You need to stay strong, keep a positive outlook, and believe in yourself that you can do it.  Know that you are not alone, and that there are people like the LTS program director, your advisors, and other teachers who are here to help and support us.

November 10, 2015
by LTSblog
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Faculty Spotlight Lucien Brown (East Asian Languages & Literatures)

Lucien photoHow are you connected to the LTS program?

I teach courses on Korean and East Asian linguistics in the department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL). LTS students who are interested in teaching East Asian language often take our courses as electives, and I sometimes advise LTS final projects. Also, we currently have two students who are doing concurrent MA degrees in LTS and Korean Linguistics and Pedagogy in EALL.

Are the classes you teach related to your own research?

Very much so! I’m interested in socio-cultural language learning and teaching, and I incorporate these perspectives into my second language acquisition and pedagogy classes, such as EALL 542 Second Language Acquisition of Chinese, Japanese and Korean and EALL 543 Chinese/Japanese/Korean Pedagogy. I also research multimodal aspects of politeness in Korean, which relates to my class EALL 586 East Asian Sociopragmatics.

What advice would you give to applicants who are considering a concurrent MA degree in EALL?

First, remember that the EALL deadline for grad admission is earlier than the LTS date (EALL January 1, whereas LTS is February 15)!

In your application it is really important to articulate a clear reason for wanting to do a concurrent degree and be a member of both programs. From our side, we really want to see a clear reason or goal for wanting to study Korean linguistics and pedagogy.

Many Korean students who apply to LTS focus on English language teaching (EFL), but some of them also become interested in teaching Korean. Why do you think this happens?

In Korea, the idea of foreign language teaching is focused so much on Koreans needing to learn English, and the awareness that people from other countries need to learn Korean is not so high. But coming here broadens student’s horizons. Korean students get to know about our strong Korean language program, and meet students who are learning Korean as a second language, possibly for the first time. They get to see the importance and value of Korean language education. Besides, even if you plan to become an English teacher, having experience of teaching your native language (Korean) will give you a different perspective on what it means to teach and learn a second language.

What do you enjoy about working with graduate students?

November 5, 2015
by Annelise Marshall
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Student Spotlight: Sue Yoon

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Sue Yoon is originally from Korea and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and the Certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) at the U of O. She is now working on concurrent MA degrees in Linguistics LTS and East Asian Languages and Literatures.

You are doing concurrent MA degrees in both Linguistics with a language teaching specialization (LTS) and East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL). Can you tell us why you chose to do both degrees? How do you benefit from each department?

I got my undergraduate degree in linguistics from the University of Oregon and wished to continue studying linguistic characteristics of my native language in depth. I believed that having sufficient knowledge of linguistics would benefit me as a language teacher, which has always been a dream of mine, so I decided to apply to the M.A. Korean linguistics and pedagogy program at the University of Oregon as well as to LTS. I really enjoyed learning different language teaching techniques and approaches from a variety of LT courses at the undergraduate level, and they helped me broaden my perspective of language teaching to a large extent. I certainly benefit from both programs in many different ways. They perfectly match my areas of interest and allow me to develop a deeper understanding of language teaching and the Korean language system in order to become a more successful Korean language teacher. It is also intriguing to learn both theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge from the two programs.

 

What do you like best about teaching at the university?

There are a number of benefits of being a language GTF at the University of Oregon. First of all, I can gain professional knowledge about my fields of interest and more teaching experience simultaneously during my graduate studies. I also find it very helpful to apply what I have learned from the LT courses to my own teaching as the LT courses have certainly helped me understand what makes a good language teacher. Moreover, learning various aspects of the Korean language system from EALL (East Asian languages and literatures) courses helps me to better explain features of the Korean language to my students in the most effective manner when teaching at the university. Finally, I am so glad that I got the chance to meet my awesome students who are learning Korean at the University of Oregon!

 

For you, what is similar or different about teaching English vs. teaching Korean?

I have taught both English and Korean at a few different places in Korea and the U.S. I found teaching English quite different from teaching Korean. As I was teaching Korean, I have realized that being a native speaker of the language does not mean that it is easier to understand the language system. I learned English as my second language, and this helps me identify and understand areas of potential difficulty faced by learners of English as I underwent the same language learning. I usually feel more comfortable and confident when teaching Korean as it is my native language, but it is sometimes quite difficult to provide my learners with what they really need in order to understand a specific aspect of the language and understand their problems and difficulties from their perspective. However, I have really enjoyed the experience of teaching both languages!

 

What advice would you give applicants who might want to do concurrent MA degrees like you are?

There are a lot of great courses provided at the University of Oregon, and I believe that being able to do a concurrent MA degree can help students further broaden their knowledge in two different areas of study that they are interested in. It has been a wonderful experience taking a variety of courses and meeting such a great group of people in the two programs!

 

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