Before … and After the BLC

To say that UC Berkeley and Berkeley Language Center in particular changed my life from the professional and personal points of view is to say nothing. I would better say my life can be now divided into two epochs – before BLC and after BLC.

My English classes started here in Russia, and I have never seen my students’ eyes shining so bright with willingness to study English although before my BLC experience I tried my best to make them feel like that. All this without any doubts I connect with using new authentic materials I brought from the US, with attending CATESOL conferences, meeting other teachers, listening to their presentations, and learning from them. This is also the result of employing the materials and teaching techniques that I acquired during my ESL-teaching experience at Laney College (thank you, Sirpa, it works here, too!). I was also tremendously influenced by the Fellows Meetings conducted by Richard Kern and Mark Kaiser and held weekly at BLC. I have already started using these meetings format (absolutely new for Russia) working on my students’ papers. Thank you, Rick, Mark, Sirpa, Galen, Jessica, Heather, Anna, Usree, Minsook, and Jason.  Fall 2009 and spring 2010 BLC Lecture Series and nights at Claire’s on Tuesdays liberalized me considerably and I have already started reading for my doctoral thesis and writing a series of articles that I am going to share with the BLC, probably through FIT. 

Irina Matveeva
All-Russian Distance Learning Institute of Finance and Economics,
Department of Foreign Languages,
2009 – 2010 Fulbright Visiting Student Researcher at BLC, UC Berkeley