The long-standing collegiate FL (foreign language) teacher training paradigm, traditionally consisting of a pre-service workshop followed by an in-service methods course, has been criticized by numerous researchers. This top-down model with its short-term focus on methodologies and techniques for teaching lower-level FL courses has been viewed–particularly by Language Program Directors (LPDs)–as woefully inadequate for preparing tomorrow’s FL professoriate to teach language, literature, and culture in increasingly diverse programmatic contexts.
Furthermore, because commercially available materials for in-service methods courses typically focus on transactional oral communication, relegating reading and writing to the role of “support skills,” the longstanding language-literature divide within FL departments is renewed during the formative professional development experiences of novice FL teachers. As Byrnes (2005) claimed, changes needed in TA education “must address deep cultural shifts in society, in education as an academic field as a practice, as well as in foreign language education (p. 136). The 2007 MLA Report called for a more coherent curriculum in which “language, literature, and culture are taught as a continuous whole,” (p. 3) it is evident that shifts in the content of FL graduate students' professional development as teachers are overdue.
In view of these shortcomings, we are developing a set of topic-based modules to be used for the professional development of FL teaching assistants (TAs) and adjunct instructors in a variety of languages and teaching contexts. The approach to FL teaching and learning foregrounded in these modules will be a multiliteracies approach (Kern, 2000; The New London Group, 1996) wherein the goal of FL teaching and learning is the development of literacy, or
[T]he use of socially-, historically-, and culturally-situated practices of creating and interpreting meaning through texts. It entails at least a tacit awareness of the relationships between textual conventions and their contexts of use and, ideally, the ability to reflect critically on those relationships … literacy is dynamic—not static—and variable across and within discourse communities and cultures. (Kern, 2000, p. 16)
Heather Willis Allen, Associate Professor of French and Second Language Acquisition, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Heather Willis Allen holds an M.A. in French Literature from the Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies and French from Emory University. In Fall 2011, she joined the Department of French and Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before her arrival at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she was Assistant Professor of French and Second Language Acquisition and French Language Program Director at the University of Miami (2006-2011) and Lecturer of French and French Language Program Coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh (2002-2006).
Allen’s research interests include language-learning motivation, teacher development, and literacy-based approaches to teaching and learning. Publications that she has authored on teacher development and literacy-based teaching have appeared in the ADFL Bulletin (2010), the French Review (2009), the L2 Journal (2010), the Modern Language Journal (2010), the NECTFL Review (2008), as well as in From Thought to Action: Exploring Beliefs and Outcomes in the Foreign Language Program (2007), Principles and Practices of the Standards in College Foreign Language Education (2009) and Sociocultural Research on Second Language Teacher Education: Exploring the Complexities of Professional Development (2011). Her research on language-learning motivation has appeared in Foreign Language Annals (2003, 2010), the Journal of Studies in International Education (2010) and Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad (2010). Allen’s book-length projects include the AAUSC 2011 volume Educating the Future Foreign Language Professoriate for the 21st Century (Heinle Cengage, 2011) co-edited with Hiram H. Maxim and Alliages culturels: La société française en transformation, a literacy-based introduction to French culture today textbook co-authored with Sébastien Dubreil, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Heinle Cengage).
Beatrice Dupuy holds an M.A. in English from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), an M.S. in Education (TESOL) and a Ph.D. in Education (Language, Literacy and Learning) from the University of Southern California. She has taught English as a Foreign Language at the pre-collegiate level in France, and French and English as a Second Language at the post-secondary level in the U.S. In addition to French language, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in second language acquisition. She is currently Professor of French and Foreign Language Education in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Arizona where she also directs the Introductory and Intermediate French language program. She is also a faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) in which she serves as Chair of the Pedagogy Curriculum Sub-committee. She is co-director of CERCLL (Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy), a Title VI Language Resource Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Her research focuses on foreign language teaching assistants’ professional growth in relation to teaching in an integrated multidisciplinary and multi-literacy curriculum and on experiential learning as a theoretical and practical framework for foreign language education in home and study-abroad contexts. Her research has appeared in Foreign Language Annals, the Canadian Modern Language Review, System, Applied Language Learning, etc. She recently co-authored with Robert Ariew (University of Arizona) a first-year French textbook, Français Monde: Connectez-vous à la Francophonie (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2011).