Faculty Perspective: Foreign Language Education

Hello, my name is Martha Esperanza Castañeda, and I’m an Associate Professor of Foreign
Language Education at Miami University. I prepare the future foreign language
teachers for the State of Ohio and for other states umm, for students who want to come to Miami
to gain their license to teach in other states as well. We prepare
teachers to teach Spanish, French, German, Latin, and Chinese. So, uhh, because we have such a diverse group of students in our courses, our methodology courses at Miami for
Foreign Language Education are taught in English and we work in a cohort system so all
the students that will be future foreign language teachers, including the French, the German, the Spanish, the Latin, they work together as a group umm and
take courses together, so that has been a very successful model here at Miami for
our students to work together as a group, as a cohort, to help each other with the strengths that
each student brings for the various courses that our students
might take here at Miami. Umm, a strength for the Foreign
Language Program here at Miami University is that it requires
students to study abroad. This is a very invaluable experience for
students not only for language purposes, but also
for cultural purposes, our students are able
to umm reach higher levels of proficiency
during their semester abroad, and when they are immersed in the
culture they’re able to discover the products, perspectives, and practices
of that culture. And as they are living and experiencing
their, umm, their study’s abroad there also able to
gain quite a bit knowledge that they can bring back to their
classroom knowledge and experiences that the students themselves once they
are teachers are able to use in their classrooms. Uhh, moreover some of our students stay
very connected with the friends and families that they meet while they are
abroad and they’re able to use those friends
and families as a resource in their future language classroom they
may be able to Skype in and bring in umm a family
member, or they may be able to email a family
member to talk about a particular topic that is being discussed in their
classroom. so our study abroad experience is one of
the strengths of our program. I also think are two methods sequence, uhh, that our students take two methodology — teaching methodology courses in our program is also a strength of our program. Umm, in the first course students learn a
lot of the theory behind language acquisition how our language is learned we have notions about how languages are learned, but we delve into research that
actually really works with language acquisition going beyond the notions and the intuition
of how language umm, is learned so students learn in
those courses that we must create very engaging and meaningful and real-world
activities for our students, because we are preparing 21st century
learners that will need to go beyond translating a textbook, they need to be
able to communicate when they go abroad they need to be
able to read timetable for the — for the train
schedule. They need to be able to go and ask at
the reception uhh at the hotel, uhh, for their needs. So we are creating a different learner
for today’s world, the 21st century learner needs different skills uhh, the 21st century language learner
needs different types of skills in language acquisition, so it is the
responsibility of our teachers, our language teachers, to create those experiences for our students. Umm, we recommend that students create
engaging activities that are puzzles for language acquisition that
lead to communication, that lead to communication. So, because we have a two method sequence our students are able to achieve those
goals. In the first methods class ,students learn
a lot of the theory, umm, and a lot of the background of language acquisition. In the second methods course we have a very strong partnership with a
local school, so our students take lead in teaching in
the after school foreign language program. So, in the second methods course our
students are able to put into practice what they have learned in their uhh, first
course. So, they’re able to put into practice all of
the theory in able to create those lesson plans under a mentorship model as I read their
lesson plans, as I visit their classrooms, so this seems to have worked as a good uhh, sequence here at Miami for our students. The two methods sequence. In addition,
those methods courses are supplemented by courses taught by our colleagues for
classroom management, for assessment, for ways of reading and enhancing reading in the
foreign language classroom so all our courses are
enhanced by other courses taught by very competent
colleagues here in umm, the Adolescent Young Adult Program here
at Miami University. College of Education, Health and Society. Department of Teacher Education. Miami University. Oxford, OH. Est. 1809.

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