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PrestonByers

Spring2015

MATLProgramReflection

MyMATLexperiencehasbeenawellroundedjourneythroughareasoflinguistics,culture,
history,languageacquisitionandpedagogythathaspreparedmeforthenextstageofmycareerasan
educator.ThroughthisprogramIhavehadtheopportunitytoexploretopicsofimportanceforastudentof
languageandcultureingeneral,aswellasthose,whichrelatespecificallytomylanguageofemphasis.I
havegainedvaluableknowledgeandwisdomabouthowtolearnandhowtoleadotherstolearn.Ihave
growninmyunderstandingofteachingandlearning,especiallyasitrelatestosecondlanguageacquisition
andIhavebecomeawareofandappropriatedeffectiveresearchbasedpracticesineffortstoimprovemy
instruction.Inthisreflection,Iwillconsiderthisjourneyalongwithsomeofthemostmemorable
momentsandmilestonesthatIexperiencedandsomeoftheconceptsthathadthegreatestimpactonme.

SPA612SpanishPedagogicalGrammar

DuringmySPA612course,Ilearnedhowtomoreeffectivelyincorporategrammarintolanguage
instruction,notasastandalonefixture,butasapartofthelearnersoverallexperiencewiththelanguage.
Inthepast,Ihadbeentoofocusedonbottomupexplanationsofgrammaticalformsandhadnotdeveloped
discussionsofformaroundtheirconnectiontomeaning.InthiscourseIlearnedtohelpstudentsnegotiate
andstrugglewiththemeaningofinterestingandrelevantsamplesoflanguagewhileskillfullydirecting
discourseaboutmeaningtowardstherecognitionofform,helpingthemarriveatconclusionsaboutthe
grammarthattheyencounter,andthenrelatingitbacktomeaningagain(Donato&AdairHauk1994).
Ialsostudiedtheformandfunctionofthesubjunctivemoodandexamineditasameansof
indicatingnuancesofmeaningandspeakerintentalongwithitsplaceinthepragmaticsofcommunicationI

theSpanishlanguage.IgreatlyappreciatetheunderstandingofthesubjunctivethatIgainedviathiscourse
because,asalanguagelearnerwhosbackgroundandlanguagelearningexperiencehasbeenheavily
comprisedofrealworldexposuretothelanguagethroughlifeexperiencesvs.academicpursuits,there
weresomegapsinmyknowledgeoftechnicalgrammar,especiallysurroundingthesubjunctive.ThoughI
understoodittoadegreeandhadcommunicativeexperiencewiththismood,anduseditinmyownspeech
attimes,theliteratureandexperienceofthiscoursehelpedtoclarifyandfleshitoutsothatIhaveamuch
clearerpictureofwhatthesubjunctiveisandhowitisused.

SPA637TopicsinCulture

InmySPA637course,IexploredtheroleofSpainandHispanicpeoplesandculturesinthe
historyoftheGulfofMexicoarea.Throughtheliteraturepresentedandthroughmyownresearchefforts
relatedtothethemesofthiscourse,IdiscoveredawealthofknowledgeaboutthepreColumbiancultures
andthepresenceandinfluenceofSpainintheareasthatIhadgrownuparoundandvisitedthroughoutmy
life.Findingcluesandpointsofhistoricalinterestrelatedtoconquistadores,nativepopulations,Spanish
coloniesandsemanticandculturalmarkersleftinplacenames,traditionsandarchitecturethroughoutthe
south,becamearichandrelevantwaytobuildculturallinksthatmystudentswillbeabletorelatetointhe
future.WhileIdidhavesomeunderstandingofthepresenceofSpainintheGulf,mygraspofitwas
greatlyexpanded.TherewassomuchthatlearnedthatIhadntseenbefore.Therelevanceofthiscourse
hitsurprisinglyclosetohome.Forinstance,throughcrossreferenceofmapsandinformationgained
throughstudiesofDeSotosexplorationofthesoutheast,Icametorealizethathehadmadecampednear
ourfamilyslakehouseinnorthAlabamaandhadusedtreesfromthewoodsnearthelaketocrossthe
TennesseeRiveratapointIhadwaterskiedovermoretimesthanIknow.Ihopetoteachstudentshowto
explorehistoricalandculturalconceptssuchastheonesIencounteredinthiscourseandtofindrelevance
andinterestinthemasIhave.
IlearnedofthecontributionsofSpanishspeakerstothedevelopmentoftownsandcommunities
thatarestillheretodayonthecoast(onesthatmystudentswillrelateto,suchasSt.Augustineand

Pensacola,Florida,Mobile,AL,Natchez,MS,andNewOrleansLouisiana).Amajorpointofinterestof
mineduringthiscoursewasthatofthecontributionsoftheCanaryIslanderstotheGulfregionandthe
vestigesoftheircultureanddialectthatexisttothisdayinTexas,LouisianaandFloridaaswellasthe
Caribbean.Inregardstothistheme,IlearnedofcommunitiesinsouthLouisianawheretheSpanish
broughtbyCanariansettlersisstillspokentothisday.Thisisanincredibletestimonytothepresenceof
thelanguagebutalsoavaluableresource,asspeechsamplesandvideoshavebeenrecordedonYouTube
andareavailableformyuseintheclassroom.Infact,Ibegantoseeallsortsoflinkstothecurriculum
rightundermynose.IlearnedofresourcesthatIcoulduseformyownlearningandforthatofmyfuture
students,asawaytodrawthemclosertotheobjectivesoftheNationalStandardsinamannerthatweaves
togethercultureandlanguage(TheNationalStandardsCollaborativeBoard2015)andtoteachacrossthe
curricularlinesalongwiththeeffortsofhistoryteachers.

SPA641SpanishintheUnitedStates

InmyfirstSPA641course(SpanishinAmerica)IlookedattheroleoftheSpanishlanguageand
contributionsofHispanicCultureinthehistoryandpresentsituationofthiscountry.Iexploredtheplace
ofSpanishinsociety,politicsandeducationthroughthemesrangingfromHeritageLanguageefforts,to
bilingualeducation,totheEnglishOnlymovementandanumberoftopicsinbetweenthese.AsIread
workspublishedfromacademic,sociopoliticalstandpointsIcontrastedthemwithaccountsandopinionsof
immigrantsandotherSpanishspeakerslivinghereintheU.S.ItwasduringthistimethatIcompleteda
servicelearningproject(TilleyLubbs2007)inwhichIgatheredexperienceandinsightfromandabout
SpanishspeakersandtheHispaniccommunityhereincentralMississippi.Forthisproject,Ivolunteeredat
theImmigrationClinicofCatholicCharitiesinJacksonandworkedalongsidetwonativespeakersanda
heritagespeaker(allofwhomhadoriginallyimmigratedherefromMexicoduringdifferentstagesoftheir
lives).AlongwithsocioculturalandhistoricalthemessurroundingtheuseofSpanishintheUnitedStates,
IalsostudiedthethemeofcodeswitchingasitappliestoSpanishandEnglishandthephenomenonof
Spanglishfromalinguisticpointofviewaswellasfromasocioculturalstandpoint.

Astomyexperienceinservicelearning,itprovedtobevaluableasitnotonlyprovidedmewith
valuableexperienceandperspectivesinthecurrentstateofSpanishinmyareaalongwiththeissuesof
Spanishspeakingimmigrantsandtheirchildren,butitalsobecameamediumthroughwhichIve
developedfriendshipswithSpanishspeakingmembersofthecommunitywhereIlive,possibleresources
andconnectionsforfuturelessonsandlearningexperiencesthatIcanoffermystudents.Alongwiththese
benefitsIalsogainedunderstandingofwaystobringstudentsoutoftheclassroomandintointeraction
withrealcommunitiesofspeech(ACTFL2006,Communitiesstandard)andtolearnfromthisinteraction
whilebeinganassetinthelivesoftheindividualstheyserve(Shrum&Glisan2010).

SPA641TheRoleofSocialContextintheAcquisitionofSpanish

DuringmysecondSPA641course,exploredthedifferentcontextsinwhichSpanishislearnedin
termsofformalinstructionasasecondlanguage,studyabroadandquestionsrelatedtobilingualsand
heritagelanguagelearning.IconsideredthedifferentingredientsthatIbelievetobeimportantfora
successfulsecondlanguagelearningsituation;elementssuchasaconnectiontolearnerinterest,connection
ofthelearnertothecultureofthelanguage,arelevantapproachtogrammarthetechnicaldetailsofthe
languageandopportunitiesforsocialinteraction.Ireflectedonhownoonemethodbyitselfmay
accomplishallthatisneededasIalsoconsideredhowIhadlearnedSpanishviamultipleexperiencesand
methods.Alongwithacknowledgingtheimportanceofcomprehensibleinput(Krashen1982),Iexplored
theconceptsofProcessingInstruction(VanPatten2000)asawaytohelpensurethatlearnersrecognizethe
patternsofthestructureofthelanguageandtomakeconnectionsbetweenformandmeaningwithinthe
inputthattheyreceive.IthensawthelinkbetweenthispracticeandAttentionphaseofthePACEmodel,
whichIhadalreadydevelopedanappreciationofduringmySPA612andFL561courses,andrealizedthat
itcouldfacilitatemyeffortstohelpstudentsgainabettergraspofformwhilemaintainingtheirpositionas
discoverersofthelanguageinsteadofpassiverecipientsofgrammarfacts.
ThoughIhadneverparticipatedinastudyabroadprogram(noneofmyexperiencesinother
countrieshadbeenforeducationalreasons),IdidhaveanappreciationforsuchprogramsasInewthe

potentialofbeingimmersedinlanguageandcultureinthenaturalenvironmentinwhichittakesplace.
Throughourexaminationofthistypeofexperienceandthevariablesthatcomeintoplayasstudents
acquirelanguageabroad,Isurveyedliteratureandcritiquedthestructureofprogramsfromavarietyof
institutionsanddoingso,becamemoreeducatedonthetopicandwhichelementsaremosteffectiveinits
success.
Duringourstudyofthetopicofbilingualismandheritagelanguagelearning,Icameintocontact
withafieldthathassincethenbecomeanareaofhighinterestforme.Ihadbeenexposedtothesethemes
duringmySPA612coursebutforonereasonoranother,SpanishforHeritageLearnerseducationsparked
aninquisitiveethusiasmformethatIhavecontinuedtopursue.Theuniquenessofthisnichefield,the
complexitiesthatitpresents,alongwiththeobstaclestoitsimplementationintheareaofthecountryin
whichIliverepresentedachallengethatIcouldntresistasateacherandapersonwholovesto
contemplatesolutionstoproblems.SomeofmymostmemorableexperiencesasaMATLstudent
developedfrommyfinalprojectforthiscourseasIresearchedsolutionstotheobstaclesfacingSHL
educationinourregionandconnectedwiththeworkofleadersinthefieldofHeritageLanguages(Lynch,
Beaudrie,Fairclough,Potowski,CarreiraandKagan)andexamplesofsuccessinrelationto
interinstitutionalcollaboration(theTravelingScholarProgram,theGreatPlainsIDEA,Sunoikisis),whichI
believepresentsaviablemeanstohelpfurtherSHLeffortsinareasofthecountryinwhichithasnot
traditionallybeenanoption.

SPA692Research

Duringthistime,IchosetofurtherexplorethethemeofSpanishasaHeritageLanguage
educationandtolookatthepossibilityofaidinginthedevelopmentofanHLprogramhereatthe
UniversityofSouthernMississippi(ConsiderU.S.M.orouruniversity).Thetopicsofmyresearch
centeredontheneedsoflearnersofSpanishasaHeritagelanguageandwaystoprovidefortheseneeds
throughspecialcourses,onesthatutilizeaninteractiveonlineenvironmentinparticular,andthevariables

thatpresentthemselvesforconsiderationduringthedesignofSHLcurriculumandcourses.Realizingthat
thenumbersofpossibleSHLstudentsmostlikelyrepresentaverysmallportionofstudentpopulationsat
theuniversitylevelinourstateatthecurrenttime,IdecidedtolookfurtherintotheonlinemodelthatIhad
consideredasapartoftheSHLsharedprogramideaIhadpreviouslyworkedoninmySPA641course.
TheconceptwastogaindataaboutcurrentstudentsatUSMthatcouldbedeemedSHLandmovetowarda
pilotmodulethatcouldbetestedandcommentedonbyprospectiveSHLstudents.Ifoundthrough
research,thattheonlineenvironment,whilebeingbothconvenientandessentialtothesharedprogramidea
(Byers,2014),wasalsoparticularlybeneficialforthecreationofnewSHLcoursesasitprovidedwaysto
helplearnersinteractwiththelanguageinrelationtoHLappropriatethemeswhilealsoaffordingthe
learnerwithmethodsthroughwhichquestionsofaffectandanxietycanbeaccountedfor.
Myresearcheffortswerenotmadeupsolelyofsearchesforpublishedliteraturerelatedtothe
SHLfieldandontheothertopicsrelevanttomystudy.Ialsoengagedinnetworkingandconversation
withleadersintheSHLfieldoutsideofouruniversity.TheconnectionsthatImadewiththeseexperts
actuallystemmedfromtheeffortsofDr.LaurelAbreutoinviteDr.AndrewLynchtospeaktomySPA641
classonthetopicofHeritageLanguageviaanonlinechat.IlatercorrespondedwithDr.Lynchonthe
topicandreceivedfromhimagreatdealofinformationandguidanceastowheretofindrelevantliterature.
Later,duringmyresearchcourse,asIbegantrytoeducatemyselfonSHLcurriculum,Dr.Lynchpointed
metoDr.MaraCarreiraofCalStateLongbeach,whohasbeenakeyfigureincurriculumdevelopmentfor
thefield.Dr.Carreiraprovidedmewithdirectioninregardtorelevantliteratureaswellasawealthof
practicaladvicefromherownexperienceconcerningthemanyissuesinvolvedindevelopingnewSHL
coursesanddecidingoncurriculum.ItwasDr.Carreirathatexplainedtometheimportanceofsurveying
learnersinordertogetapictureofthetypesofneeds,interestsandbackgroundsrepresentedbyourHL
population.
Withthehelpofmyinstructorandresearchadvisor,Dr.JeanneGillespieandwithvaluableinput
fromDr.AbreuwasabletoadaptwhatIhadlearnedfromDr.Carreiraanddevelopabriefbutproductive
electronicsurveyfromwhichwecouldgaindatathatrelatestoourcurrentSHLsituationatUSM.Thiswas
thefirststepofaprocessthatIhopewillcontinueafterIfinishmycurrentdegree.Thenextstepwouldbe

todevelopaninteractivestudentcenteredmodulebasedontheresearchanddatathatIhavebeen
compiling.TheSHLelementofourstudentbodyshouldonlyincreasewithagrowingHispanicpopulation
inourregion.Ihopetocontinuetocontributetothisfieldintheyearstocome.

FL663AppliedLinguisticsinSecondandForeignLanguage&FL665SocioculturalandSociolinguistic
PerspectivesinLanguage

WhenIreflectonwhatIgainedfrominrelationtoculture,languageandlinguisticsduringthe
MATL,myFL633and665coursesstandoutastheyhelpedprovidemewithageneraleducationonthese
topics.ThetwocoursesboresimilaritiesinthemeandcontentthatIcametoappreciateastheoverlap
helpedtoamplifymygraspofthetechnicalworldoflinguisticsandthewaysinwhichpeopleandculture
affectlanguageandviceversa.Eachofthesecoursesalsoprovidedextensionsintoareasthatwerenot
venturedintoasfarduringtheother.ThishelpedtofurtherbroadenthescopeoftheknowledgethatI
gainedandthetopicstowhichIwasexposed.
Inmy665courseIcametoappreciatethewayconnectionsweremadebetweensociolinguistics
andvariousphenomenathatIcouldrelatetoinculture,politicsandeverydaylifeinrelationtomyown
languageandlanguageingeneral(Chaika2008).Iwasalsochallengedtoseethesetypesofconnectionsin
therelationtotheSpanishlanguageanditsrelevantcultures.Ienjoyedthetechnicalstudyofthe
componentsoflanguage;linguistics,grammarandphonetics,thementalprocessesandemotionalfactors
alongwithwaysthatweuselanguagetocommunicateandtounderstandeachotherandourworld.As,I
learnedaboutspeechacts(Fromkin,Rodman&Hyams2014,Chaika2008),UniversalGrammar
(Chomsky1964),thevarioussocialfunctionsoflanguage(Chaika2008)andtherelationshipbetweenthe
discretenessoflanguageelementsandtheinfinitecreativepossibilitiesthatarefacilitatedbyfiniteunits
(Fromkin,Rodman&Hyams2014),Iarrivedamuchgreaterappreciationforwhatlanguageisand
marveledatthecomplexityandscopetheamazingGodgivencapacityforlanguageandthateachhuman
comesintotheworldinnatelypredisposedtomakesenseofandutilize(Chomsky1964).Asapartof
the665course,Iplacedmyselfinthepositionofalearnerwhoisencounteringdrasticdifferencesin

culturebywayofacultureshockexperiencethatIpurposelycoordinatedandreflectedon.This
experiencewasbeneficialtomeasIcouldstepbackandstudytheaffectiveandintellectualelementsof
encounteringunfamiliarculture.Iwouldliketohelpmystudents,notonlytoexploreandcompareculture
andlanguage,butalsototakenoteofandreflectonhowtheypersonallyrelatetoitandhowitaffectsthem
andtheiridentity.
Duringbothcourses,Iexploredlanguageasaphenomenonwhilesimultaneouslylookingintothe
relationshipbetweenlanguageandculture.AsIgainedamuchmoredevelopedunderstandingofjusthow
inseparablethetwoare,IcametoappreciateStevenPinkerscoinageofthetermlanguacultureasit
bettersymbolizestheunityofthesetwoaspectsofhumanexperience(2007).Iseenowhowunrealisticit
istotrytoteachlanguagewithoutcultureortoteachculturewithoutthelanguagethroughwhichitmoves.
Havinggrowninmyunderstandingoftherelationshipbetweenlanguageandculture,Ihaverealizedhow
muchthelackofculturalexplorationinmypreviousteachingcausedadisconnectwithrealityand
relevanceandcontributedtodry,artificialpursuitsofdecontextualizedlanguageinwhichtechnical
elementsofthelanguageareanalyzedandplacedintosentencesthatlackasetting.Thatwasntreal
communication.Infact,aftercomingtoseecultureasakeycomponentofthesoilfromwhichlanguage
grows,Ivecometotheconclusionthatwithoutthecontextofthepeople,ideas,andcultureinwhich
grammarandvocabularytakeplace,itisquestionablewhetherornotateacherisreallyteachinglanguage.
Isaythatbecause,asIveseenduringthesecoursesandtheMATLprogramoverall,reallanguageis
inseparablefromallofthosethings(Fromkin,Rodman&Hyams2014,Chaika2008,Pinker2007,Moran
2001).
MyMATLstudiesinsociolinguisticshavebroadenedmyunderstandingofwhatlanguageisand
itsroleinhumanlifeandthought.Theyhavehelpedmetofurtherunderstandtheroleofexpressionand
communicationinthestoryandprogressionoftheculturesandlanguagesthatIworkwith.Asapplication
oftheunderstandingthatIvegainedinsociolinguisticsandtheinterestthatIhavedevelopedinlinguistic
changeandthesocialandculturalfactorsthataffectit,Isetout(duringmyFL665course)toconducta
sociolinguisticstudyofthechangesthatsouthernAmericanEnglish(SAE)hasundergoneinasmall
communityinMississippi.Usingdatacollectedfrominterviewsoftwogroupsofspeakers,that

representedtwodifferentgenerationsofresidentsinthiscommunity,Iwasabletoisolatevariousmarkers
ofdialectwithinthespeechofeachgroupaseitherhavingremainedstableorasindicatorsofchangeandto
drawconclusionsastothesocialandculturalfactorsthatappeartohaveplayedaroleinthechange.
DuringmyFL663Iappliedmyincreasedattentivenesstovariationindialecttotheenvironmentofthe
foreignlanguageclassroombyIfocusingondialectalvariationasitappliestotheSpanishlanguage,
conductingasurveyofliteratureconcerningsalientelementsoftheSpanishspokenindifferentareasofthe
worldandthendesigningclassroomapplicationsthatwouldallowstudentsofthislanguagetoexplorethe
themeofvariationandexperimentwithit.Ihopetocontinuetodesignanduseapplicationssuchasthese
withmyfuturestudents,withtheintentofhelpingthemexpandtheirunderstandingandgraspofthe
languageasitexistsinnativeenvironmentsandgainarangeofcommunicativecompetence(Hymes1972)
thatcanbeusedwithawiderrangeofspeakersorbeappliedtospecificgroupsofinterest.
TheseclasseshavehelpedmetothinkaboutSpanishandEnglishlanguagesandculturesinways
thathelptogetattheheartoflanguageanditsplaceinthelivesofthepeoplewhouseit.Iamconfident
thattheseexperiencesandtheknowledgethatIhavegainedthroughthemwillproveresourcefulformeas
Ileadmystudentstodiscoverthefactorsthataffectlanguageandtomakecomparisonsofthehow
languageworksandvariesinrelationtodifferentsituations,settings,andpurposesinreallife,asitisused
inboththetargetlanguageandtheirL1.Thus,whilethesecourseshavehelpedmelearntomake
ComparisonsofCultureandCommunicationandtoseehowthesestandardsarewoventogetherinreallife
(TheNationalStandardsCollaborativeBoard2015),theyhavealsoaffordedmethroughexperience,an
understandingofhowtoleadlearnerstodothesame.

SPA641SociolinguisticsofSpanish

DuringmySPA641studyoftheSpanishlanguagefromasociolinguisticstandpoint,Ilearnedto
applymuchoftheknowledgethatIhadlearnedduringmyFL663course(AppliedLinguistics)inabroad
studyofvariationinSpanishasitisspokenandwrittenthroughouttheHispanicworld.Ilearnedabout
differenttypesofvariationinregardtophonetics,lexiconandsyntax.ThroughtheliteraturethatIread

(suchasSilvaCorvaln2001andArteaga&Llorente2009),Icametoabetterunderstandingofhow
changeoccursinlanguage,thesocioculturalaswellaslinguisticfactorsthatcanaffectit,andthedifferent
typesofchangesthatoccurs.Duringthecourse,Iresearchedandfamiliarizedmyselfwithalittletaught
yetwidelyusedformofaddressandverbmorphology;Voseo,whichIhavesincedevelopedadesireto
exposemystudentstoalongwithothersalientelementsofdialectaldifference.Ifeelthatexposureto
variationsuchasthisissomethingthatIshouldgivetomystudentsifIwishtohelpthembecome
competentwiththerangeofdiversityfoundintheSpanishlanguageasitexistsinauthentic
communication.Throughthiscourse,Ihavebecomemuchbetterequippedtodealwithvariationindialect
aswellastohelpstudentsunderstandwhyandhowvariationhappensinsomeandtohelpthelearnto
researchvariationsofinteresttothem.Workingfromasociolinguisticstandpointhasalsopreparedmeto
helpstudentsidentifyrelationshipsbetweenlanguage,cultureandhistory.

FL664SecondLanguageAcquisitionTheoryandPractice

ThroughouttheFL664course,Iexploredarangeoftopicsrelatedtosecondlanguageacquisition
andtriedtoapplythemtomyselfasaleanerandtoincorporatethemintomythoughtsaboutforeign
languageinstruction.Ibegantolookandlanguagelearningthroughthelensofresearchandtheoryandto
thinkaboutmyteachingpracticesinlightofwhatIwaslearningabouthowpeopleacquirelanguage.I
developedadesiretouseSLAresearchtofindoutwhatwouldbemosteffectiveformylearners.
Amongthetopicsofthiscourse,severalthemesstoodouttome.Istudiedthethemeof
communicativecompetenceinSLAasafocalpointofteachingstrategiesandgoalsandastandardfor
evaluation(Hymes1972inBrown2014ch.8).Inthepast,Ihadbeenoverfocussedoncoveringthe
grammarconceptsinthepacingguideandthetextbookandhadmissedthemark.NowIammore
concernedwithwhatthestudentcanactuallydowiththelanguagewithinthecontextofreallifeandhis/her
abilitytouseitindifferentsocioculturalsituations.Ialsoreadabouttheroleofanxietyandotheraffective
factorsinlanguagelearning.While,someanxietycancauseimpedimentstothelearningprocess,theright
typeofanxietycanactuallystimulatemotivation(Bailey1983,Brown2014).Isawthisthroughmy

observations,asatypeofpositiveanxiety,broughtonbyhealthycompetitionandtherigorofachallenging
yetenjoyableactivity,canfosterhighlevelsofengagementandparticipationandultimatelylearning(561
observations,692observations).DuringtheMATL,Ialsolearnedhowtheteachercanreducenegative
anxietyforlearnersbymodelingpositiveinteractionanddevelopinganonthreatening,supportive
environmentinwhichhealthydiscoursetakesplaceinanatmosphereofappreciationforthethoughts,
contributionsandeffortsofothers(Young1990,Maxim2002,Cazden2010,PracticumObservations).
AsIconsideredtheeffectofmotivationonlanguageacquisition,Iexaminedmyownexperience
asalanguagelearneraccordingtoDrnyeisprocessmodelofL2ofmotivation(2005).Oneaspectof
motivation,thatinterestedme,wasthedifferenceofinfluencebetweenintrinsicandextrinsicmotivation.I
ponderedthequestionofhowtohelplearnersdevelopintrinsicmotivationinrelationtoagoal,situationor
task.Sincethen,Ihaveseenhowthethemesstudentcenteredteaching,relevanceandlearnerinterest
(Shrum&Glisan2010),thatIexploredduringmy561andPracticumcoursesrelatetothisquestion,while
alsohelpingmetobetterdeterminethemesandcontentthatconnectwiththegoalsofmystudents.Ihave
beguntotrytolookatlanguageinstructionthroughtheeyesofmylearners,tofindwhatintereststhemand
tocapitalizeontheirpersonalitiesandmotivations.

FL561TeachingSecondLanguages:TheoryintoPractice

MyFL561coursewas,withoutadoubt,oneofthemostbeneficialexperiencesofmytimeinthe
MATLprogram.Duringthiscourse,Igainedawealthofunderstandingaboutteachingandlearningata
varietyoflevels,bothinageneralsenseandspecificallyasitappliestolanguagelearning.Ibecame
familiarwiththemessuchasIREvs.IRF,BackwardDesign(whichIhadpreviousexperiencewithbut
nowhavenowdevelopedagreatercomfortlevel),theCoConstructionofmeaningthroughclassroom
conversation,theStoryBasedApproachtoTeachingGrammar,andtheskillfuluseofinstructional
conversationinorderfurtherthewillingnessoflearnerstocommunicateandtofosterworkwithintheZPD
ofthestudents(Wells1993,Tharp&Gallimore1991,Wiggins&McTighe2005,Donato&AdairHauk
1994,Vygotsky1978,Shrum&Glisan2010).Ibecamemuchmoreawareofhowlanguageinstructionis

bestconductedintheclassroomandhowitseffectivenessisinformedandfacilitatedbyresearch.AsI
surveyedliteraturerelatedtothepracticeofmyprofession,Igrewinmydesiretoimprovemyinstructional
practicesbyincorporatingelementsthatwillfosterlearning.Componentssuchasauthentictexts
(Galloway1998,Shrum&Glisan2010)thatrelatetolearnersandtheirinterests,taskbasedinstruction
(Lee1995)andcooperativelearningactivitiesthatbuildsgroupinteraction,interpersonaldiscourseand
cohesiveness(suchasjigsawstyleactivitiesKagan1989),whilestudentsusehigherlevelthinkingto
investigatecontentintheTLandcometoconclusionsaboutit,haveallbecomeastapletomyplanningand
instruction(Shrum&Glisan2010).
Duringthiscourse,Ihadtheopportunitybothtoobserveinstructioninclassroomsatthe
universityandtoteachinalocalschool.TheobservationsthatImadeandthesubsequentinterviewsthatI
conductedwiththeinstructorshelpedmetorecognizeelementsfrommyMATLcoursesinaction,critique
practicesandfurtherdevelopmyviewsonlanguageinstructionandgainperspectivesfromdifferent
teachingstyles.MyexperienceofteachingSpanishtoa5thgradeclasswasaseyeopeningasitwas
enjoyable.Whileengaginginlanguageplay,conversationandallowingmyselftobeflexiblein
instruction,Ilearnedtofacilitatethestudentsnaturaldesiretoexperimentwiththelanguageandadaptit
fortheirownuseandinterests.Ilearnedtotakecuesfromthethemespresentedinstudentcommentsand
ideasinordertodevelopthelessonanditstopics,tofindnewtopicsforexplorationasItorelatedtothe
students.InthiswayIdevelopedadesireforlearnercenteredinteractionandanunderstandingofhowto
useitinrelationtomylanguagegoalsfortheclassinsteadoftryingtocovertheelementsofatextbook.I
gainedsomuchpedagogicalgroundfromthisexperiencebutjustimportantforme,asapersonwhohad
becomeaburnedoutwitheducation,Ibegantorememberjusthowenjoyableteachingandlearningcanbe!

FL694Practicum

ThePracticumportionofmyMATLexperiencesymbolizedaculminationofsortsformostofthe
knowledgeandskillsthatIhadgainedduringmyotherclasses.Thisincluding,theoryandmethodology,
ideassurroundingstandardsbasedinstruction,skillsthatIhadbeguntodevelopforlisteningtostudents

andforobservingpedagogy,mynewfoundpassionforastudentcenteredapproach(Shrum&Glisan
2010)andthecomponentsoflessonandactivityplanningthatIhadbeenworkingwithduringprevious
courses(561,663,612,637,etc.).TheliteratureprovidedthroughthePracticumchallengedmetothinkof
thelearningenvironmentinnewwaysandtoseeinteractionbetweenteacherandstudentaswellas
betweenstudentandstudentdifferently.Discoursebecamemuchmoreimportanttomeasamainsource
andmediumforlearninginastudentcenteredcollaborativesetting(Cazden2010).Ibecamemuchmore
awareoftherolesofinterestandaffectonasuccessfulclassroomandintheproductivenessofan
environmentinwhichlearnersarepreparedandwillingtocontribute.Ihadbeguntoexplorethesetopics
inothercourses(especiallymy561course),butnowtheywerebecomingevenmorerealthroughthe
explanationsandaccounts/examplesthatIwasreading(Cazden2010)andtheobservationsIwasmaking
inlanguageclassrooms.
Theobservations,bothfocusedandgeneral,helpedmetorecognizepracticesandpatternsin
instructionandclassroominteractionthatIadmiredandwantedtoincorporateintomyownteaching,while
alsoprovidingmewiththeopportunitytopinpointthosethatIwishtoavoid.AsIobserved,reflectedand
completedobservationtasks,IgainedperspectiveconcerningmypastexperiencesinteachingandIsaw
areasthatIwishtostrengthenaswellaselementsthatIwanttoreplacewithmoreeffectiveones.Thus,I
cametoagreaterunderstandingofhowtheresearchbasedpracticesthatIvebeenstudyingcanbe
implementedinalanguageclass,whilelookingintrospectivelyandconfrontingtheweaknessesofmyown
instructionwiththeendproductofbecomingabetter,moreeffectiveteacherandfacilitatoroflanguage
learning.

Conclusion

IhavethoroughlybenefitedfromalloftheexperiencesIvehadduringthisprogramandhave
cometoappreciatethesumofknowledge,instructionalpracticeandwisdomthatitrepresents.Iamtruly
gratefultoGod,myfamily(foralloftheirsupport),andtothetalentedprofessorsthatIhavelearnedunder
duringtheMATL.Duringthistime,Ihaveexploredresearchrelatedtolanguageeducationandhave

consideredandevaluatedpracticesandperspectivesthatrelatetomyfield.Ihavebeenchallengedtomove
towardsexcellenceasastudentoflanguageandcultureandtostriveforitinmyworkasaneducator.I
havegainedagreaterdesiretofurtherthefieldoflanguageeducationandtocontributetothebodyof
researchfromwhichitbenefits.Ihavedevelopedandgrownasalanguagelearner,alanguageteacherand
asaperson.Duringthisexperience,Ihavegainedbothagreatdealofperspectiveinregardtomypastasa
teacheranddirectionformyfutureeffortsinlanguageeducation.

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