Tag Archives: languages

Using languages in international development: MIIS alumni and programs featured

Learning a language can open up a whole new world to people.  Many students pursue language study precisely because they want to get involved in making this world a better place.  International development has always had a strong pull for language students, offering a chance to travel and experience other cultures while doing good.  It is a broad field where one may leverage special interests and knowledge, like health care, law, or business, into a fulfilling exciting career.

MIIS alumni and programs featured by ACTFL

MIIS alumni and programs featured by ACTFL

Language skills are key

A recent “Career Focus” feature article in The Language Educator highlighted the importance of combining language skills, experience living and working abroad, technical expertise in areas such as business and public administration, with characteristics such as being pro-active, self-motivated, adaptable and able to embrace the unexpected.

Jonathan Axtell (MBA, '08)

Jonathan Axtell (MBA, '08)

In addition to discussions of the Peace Corps and other international organizations, a significant section is devoted to detailing various Monterey Institute programs and alumni, including a discussion of our unique language offerings by GSTILE Dean Renée Jourdenais, and photos and stories of alumni in the field:  Jonathan Axtell (MBA ’08), Ravi Dutta (MPA ’09) and Pete LaRaus (MPA ’04).

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of foreign languages, and has more than 9,000

Ravi Dutta (MPA '09) and Pete LaRaus (MPA '04)

Ravi Dutta (MPA '09) and Pete LaRaus (MPA '04)

foreign language educators and administrators as members.

The Language Educator is ACTFL’s newest publication; it provides comprehensive coverage of foreign language teaching and administration, and serves educators of all languages at all levels as a single, comprehensive source of news and information.

Copies of The Language Educator are available in the MIIS library, and ACTFL members can read the full issue online.

Professional associations panel: a remarkable gathering

A recent career fair panel discussion hosted by GSTILE assembled representatives from a remarkable range of professional associations from across the interpreting spectrum.

audience members listen to panel via simultaneous interpretation

audience members listen to panel via simultaneous interpretation

Facilitator Jacolyn Harmer, Professor and Program Chair for Translation and Interpretation, noted that

Sometimes we participate in events in our lives when we don’t really fully understand the complete significance of those events.  I’m going to suggest that this might be one of them for you, because if you look at this panel, I doubt that you will ever be in a room again with this kind of expertise all assembled at one time.

Representatives from the following organizations shared their perspectives in English, Spanish and French, with simultaneous interpretation into English provided by interpretation practicum students:

Many thanks to the panelists as well as all who organized, contributed to, and participated in this event.

Corpus linguistics and concordancing

This past weekend GSTILE students, faculty and staff attended a five-hour workshop on corpus linguistics and concordancing, presented by Susan Conrad, an alumna of the MIIS TESOL program, and now a faculty member in the Department of Applied Linguistics at Portland State University.

Susan Conrad, corpora and concordancing workshop

Susan Conrad, corpora and concordancing workshop

Susan’s workshop focused on the use of corpora for language teachers, and covered both software programs and web-based resources.

Materials from Susan’s workshop — as well as those from other GSTILE lecture series events — are available in the GSTILE >> TESOL/TFL section of Moodle:  Materials from TESOL/TFL Speaker Series.

Alum to be published in CATESOL Journal

MIIS TESOL alumna Janine Poreba recently received news that her Applied Linguistics Research (ALR) project will be published in the Winter 2010 issue of the CATESOL Journal.  She writes,



Recently, I dusted off my ALR project (“Negotiation Strategies in Two-Way Conversation Partnerships: Their Use and Usefulness”) and re-read it. I’m working at Santa Monica College, and some colleagues and I are starting a Conversation Exchange Program here, so I wanted to see if I’d uncovered any useful information back in my grad school days. Sure enough, I had, and what’s more, the paper was still interesting to read. I made some changes and submitted it to the CATESOL Journal, and I just found out that it’ll be published in their Winter 2010 issue.

Congratulations, Janine!  And thanks to Kathi Bailey for passing along the news.

Beverly Derewianka, Friday, Feb 19

Who: TESOL/TFL students & all others with an interest in languages
What: Guest speaker Beverly Derewianka
When: Friday, February 19, 2010, 2:00-4:00 PM
Where: Morse, Room B104

Getting Personal: Using language to engage with readers to express feelings, persuade others to our point of view, judge peoples’ behavior, and moderate our expression of attitude.

A major function of language is to enable the expression of interpersonal meanings – feelings, opinions, judgments, humor, sarcasm, and so on. Often, however, this important aspect of language competency is not taught explicitly, possibly because such meanings are so deeply embedded in the culture that even native speakers are not consciously aware of how they employ these subtle resources. This paper will draw on Appraisal Theory (Martin & White 2005) for a model to help language teachers think about such issues as:

  • how is language used to express feelings, persuade others to our point of view, judge peoples’ behavior, and so on?
  • how can we moderate our expression of attitude?
  • how can we use language to engage with the reader in various ways?

GSTILE welcomes everyone and hopes to see you there.

Faculty member honored for teaching excellence

Pablo Oliva was honored by the December 2009 Monterey Institute graduates for excellence in teaching.  Against the dramatic backdrop of the historic Golden State Theater, Oliva reflected on the path that led him to the Institute:

In the short time I have taught at MIIS, I can say that my teaching philosophy has changed profoundly.

Graduation at the Golden State Theatre

Graduation at the Golden State Theatre

I had returned to live in my native Argentina after having lived in North Carolina for a number of years. In 2006 I decided to come back to the US on very short notice to teach Spanish as part of the Summer Intensive Language Program at the Monterey Institute.

After just three days of teaching, I realized that the Institute was like few other places I had taught before and that I was facing a new kind of challenge. My students wanted to know from me how to run a business in Argentina; they asked me questions about arcane grammar rules in Spanish – what exactly is the future subjunctive and how do I use it? They wanted to not just learn the Spanish terms for the different stages a bill has to pass through before coming legislation: they wanted me to explain the process to them in Spanish. My students asked me about my views on the impact of the economic and financial crisis on the Argentina banking system and wanted to discuss in Spanish the US involvement in causing the crisis and finding global solutions!

He also credited the impact that his students have had on him, both personally and professionally:

Pablo Oliva (Spanish), Excellence in Teaching award

Pablo Oliva (Spanish), Excellence in Teaching award

I saw right away that my students’ needs and interests ranged far beyond what I had anticipated and knew I needed to rethink my pedagogical approach. I had brought from Argentina suitcases full of authentic materials which I had thought I could use to teach. However, after my first meetings with my students, I decided not even to open the suitcase. Instead, I emailed my family and professional contacts and asked them to send me new materials which I could use to meet the challenge.

Your curiosity, your probing questions and your healthy skepticism has made an impact on my life. Your research queries have taken me to different NGO’s in Argentina and other countries and opened unexpected new doors. They have allowed me to cultivate friendships and make discoveries even in my own family: one of those discoveries involved learning that a member of my own family was “disappeared” during the years under the military regime in my country.

Staying connected:

Though you leave this beautiful town, you will always be connected to the MIIS community and to the friends you have made along the way who are heading for different parts of the world. You are taking with you the tools you came here to acquire; and are now equipped to bring about change yourselves.We will miss you but we will look for you in our email boxes, Twitter, Facebook, and so on!

Interested in GSTILE updates?  Follow the @gstile and @miis twitter accounts, as well as the rest of the growing MIIS community on twitter.

Interested in staying connected to what people on campus are doing, thinking, proposing, debating?  Check out the rest of our blogging community and watch it grow:  http://sites.miis.edu.    Students and alumni are also encouraged to continue commenting on and contributing to existing blogs, or to create a blog of their own!  For further information, contact the Digital Media Commons (dmc@miis.edu).