In order to reflect on and improve their personal performance, students hired as language assistants and mentors participate in training workshops and other program meetings throughout the year to develop their understanding of language acquisition and language teaching methods. These paid positions usually become available in the month of April for the following academic year. For more information, please contact Morena Svaldi.
Language assistants lead weekly conversation sessions for designated language classes, meeting on a regular basis with language faculty to closely coordinate the content of the conversation sessions with the language course curriculum. In addition, language assistants may be assigned other responsibilities in the department, including (but not limited to) assisting with cultural activities, such as language tables and other celebrations.
Language mentors are available to help students during scheduled Q&A drop-in hours in the Language Resource Center. While mentors do not correct assignments or edit papers, they do help students develop their own ability to self-correct. Mentors will engage in ongoing training to develop their mentoring abilities and understanding of second language acquisition.
The workshops are designed to prepare our language assistants and mentors from nine languages to create activities mostly for first and second-year language courses. Using pedagogical understanding gained during the workshops, participants learn effective ways of enriching conversation sessions with a variety of activities intended to help students make active use of vocabulary and grammar. This may involve the selection and use of authentic written, audio, audiovisual and visual materials, but in the case of language assistants, no direct “grammar instruction” per se is given. The overarching goal of all sessions is to promote interest in the languages and cultures under study through meaningful interactions, thus encouraging interpersonal and global understanding.
All workshops in held Language Resource Center
For Language Assistants and Language Mentors - Spring 2018
- Tuesday February 27th from 4-5 pm
"Principles of Differentiated Instruction: Lessons from Working with Heritage Speakers" by Irina Kogel - Russian and Eurasian Studies
Examples of past workshops
- Orientation session by Morena Svaldi - Classics & Italian
- "What’s the place of translation in language teaching?" by Carolyn Shread - French
- "Teaching languages and cultures with technology" by Jean Janecki - Language Resource Center Coordinator & LITS
- "Tips for energizing student learning and maximizing student participation" by Nancy Holden-Avard - French
- "Using universal instructional design as a methodology for language classes: Strategies and practical examples" by Donna Van Handle - German Sudies
- "Using songs for different purposes in class" by Flavia Cunha - Spanish, Latina/o, and Latin American Studies
- "How to effectively pose questions and organize discussions in language classes" by Lei Yan – Chinese (Asian Studies)
- "Pictures for language learning" by Lisha Xu – Chinese
- "How second languages are learned: an overview of research findings and common beliefs" by Esther Castro -Spanish, Latina/o, and Latin American Studies
- "How to make students speak in the foreign language classroom" by Susanna Nazarova and Evgeny Dengab, Five Colleges – Russian and Eurasian Studies
- "Effective language teaching: integrating the four language skills" by Shihyun Kim - Korean (Asian Studies)