Combining Immersion Experiences and Pedagogy for Language Teachers: Lessons Learned and Changes Implemented

Authors

  • Diane J. Tedicky,

    1. University of Minnesota
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      Diane J. Tedick (Ph.D., The Ohio State University) is Assistant Professor of Second Languages and Cultures Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

  • Carolyn A. Tischer

    1. Osseo Senior High School
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      Carolyn A. Tischer (M.Ed., University of Minnesota) teaches German and French at Osseo Senior High School in Osseo, Minnesota. She served as a mentor teacher during the first summer the program described in this article was offered.


Abstract

ABSTRACT  This article describes and critiques an NEH-funded summer graduate program at the University of Minnesota for preservice and insewice teachers of French, German, and Spanish. The program combines a language immersion experience in content-based classes with a pedagogical component. Data in the form of extensive written evaluations by program participants and instructors were used to develop an analysis of the initial implementation of the program as well as to establish plans for improving it for future years. The content-based immersion sessions offered three perspectives on a unifying theme, with each perspective shared by a separate instructor. Participants enjoyed the variety of perspectives and perceived an increase in language proficiency as a result of their involvement in the course. Areas needing improvement included the content and pedagogy of the morning sessions as well as coordination of efforts. The pedagogical component combined both large-group sessions, which brought together participants from the three target language groups, and small-group “workshop” sessions facilitated by mentor teachers. The purpose of this component was to encourage teachers to explore ways of incorporating the content they were learning in the immersion classes into their own classrooms and, at the same time, update their pedagogical skills. Participants reported being pleased with the content and pedagogy of these sessions and with the role of the mentor teachers. They suggested improvements with respect to the scope of the content and the technology portion. The analysis and critique of the first summer the program was offered as well as description of the changes that were implemented to improve the second summer may offer insights to others considering the development of similar programs.

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