This paper introduces the six articles addressing what language instructors need to know. These papers were originally presented at a BLC Forum celebrating the tenth anniversary of L2 Journal.
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A reflection on language learning and teaching as a learner of French, a teacher of Spanish, and as a language department chair.
This paper considers the relationship between the structure of language departments and the content of the curriculum.
These comments make a case for the value of careful philological work with literary texts in the language classroom. I propose that grammatically sensitive close reading of literature is a valuable way to introduce students to the generative relationship between rules and originality in language use, the way that each utterance draws on the available resources of a language to intervene into a concrete situation. In support of this claim, I offer an example from my own Russian teaching, in which the alternating grammatical gender in Zinaida Gippius' 1905 poem "Ты" ("You") opens up linguistic strategies used by present-day non-binary and gender non-conforming Russian speakers.
This is a written version of my BLC roundtable talk from Oct. 9 2020- What should be the knowledge base of foreign language teachers in higher education?
We language educators are constant learners of teaching, not only of up-to-date pedagogy and technology but also the social context of target and native culture within which teaching occurs. Beyond my formal education, integral to my knowledge base are the range of student populations I have served and the variety of language teaching contexts I have encountered, such as heritage learners at UC Berkeley, the global popularity of Korean pop culture since the late 90s, and the pandemic situation since 2020. These are the local contextual factors that have affected the development of my knowledge base. To gain this knowledge base, I developed ways to integrate technology that accommodated my local contextual factors.
In this short essay I give my perspective on what I think should be the knowledge base of foreign language teachers, especially in our politically charged times, looking first at my own professional trajectory, and then offering my insights on the importance of participation, engagement and social responsibility.
Tracing my journey through academia as a language teacher, I address what a language instructor needs to know and comment on the essays of the six contributors to this section of L2 Journal.
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