Diane has been with us here in the PLC for many years. She started out in Chicago, moved to Denver I think around four years ago, taught at Valor Christian High School and now has a big announcement for us, so thank you for this report Diane:
This is my 10th year teaching Mandarin. I still love that, but over the past 2 years started seriously thinking about what I might do in CI-based language instruction if I had another degree. Ex: the relatively few language teacher education programs that thoroughly address CI work in the classroom; the general lack of knowledge of CI work by university language profs and by language research (they are their own world and often don’t even think K-12 is relevant to them); and the lack of voice for effective, joyful K-12 world language at universities. Added to that, there are significant issues in Chinese language teaching in particular. I hope to be of influence especially there, the Chinese-speaking and specifically Chinese language teaching worlds. I think I might become a kind of a bridge between K-12, CI, and universities.
It took a while to figure out how to go about this, especially since I thought it was pretty crazy at first — my husband first encouraged me. It took months before I really began to take it seriously. I talked with a number of people about what a PhD program is like, what schools to consider, what programs & degree, and what career outcomes were possible. Lots of help from many people. It took a while to figure out what to do, but it’s come together this spring.
So, this August, I’ll begin full-time doctoral studies at the University of Iowa in Foreign Language and ESL (English as a Second Language) Education. I’ll also be a research assistant which means I have funding, a huge part of making this possible. My advisor is a lovely person & very supportive of CI language instruction.
My goal long-term is to work at the university level in world language teacher education, research in effective world language and ESL classrooms and making those better known in research and at the university level, and with an eye on Mandarin Chinese in particular. I want to stay connected to the language teaching community I know & love, and make what we do that brings about joyful language acquisition better known and better supported. (If I can’t stand being away from teaching Mandarin, I’ll probably make videos and tutor by Skype, write stories, something like that. Right now, though, being a student again sounds like a big, long sabbatical, and I’m excited about that.)
I think that other teachers might be thinking of PhD study, too, and if that’s you, please feel free to ask me anything about the early stages of that process. (firstname.lastname@example.org) I’ve learned about the GRE, what kinds of programs to consider, the application process, funding, visiting schools, and some US universities which have faculty who share an interest in comprehension-based language instruction. Yes, there is more than one. Finding a school with at least one prof who cares about CI is important if this is something you want to do; I learned that through this process.
We are looking forward to being back in the Midwest & have begun the housing search. We’re aiming for rural & chicken-friendly, and hoping to have a garden again. I’ll start in mid-August 2017.