Authentic Materials and Mexican Immersion: A Professional Development Program Combining Pedagogy, Language, and Culture


  • Barbara C. Schmidt-Rinehart

    1. Ashland University
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      Barbara C. Schmidt-Rinehart (Ph.D., Ohio State University) is Associate Professor of Foreign Languages at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.


ABSTRACT  The focus on communication and interaction that characterizes foreign language instruction today demands that foreign language teachers be skilled methodologists and possess a high level of language and cultural proficiency. Maintaining these skills is a constant challenge for teachers and requires unique professional development opportunities. The two-week Mexican immersion program for teachers described in this article includes not only language instruction and homestays to enhance language and cultural development but also a course that focuses on the systematic exploration of how to integrate authentic materials into daily instruction. Results of the program suggest that this combination was successful in better preparing the participants to meet the demands of the communicative classroom. The program design, the course outline, examples from the instructional units, the reading list on authentic materials, and recommendations for future programs can serve as a model for both teachers and teacher educators.