I graduated!

I graduated with a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics a couple of days ago. Here are the descriptions of all the course I took (and aced). 

FALL 2013

APLING_605: Theories and Principles of Language Teaching

This introductory course presents students with a theoretical background in the principles of language acquisition and teaching. It presents ideas and concepts from the fields of linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and education as they relate to language development and teaching theory. While briefly introducing students to theories of first language acquisition, the course focuses on second language development according to Behaviorists, Innatists, Cognitivists, and Social Interactionists. The course will conduct an historical survey of some of the major approaches to language teaching in order to understand the relationship between theory and practice. However, it is important to note that this is not a methods class. The semester is broken into three distinct but interrelated areas: systems internal, which deals with how the human brain processes linguistic information; the psychological and individual cognitive effects on learning, and systems external, which covers the sociocultural and institutional factors that affect language development among different groups of students. The course provides an introductory foundation in language acquisition theory that should apprentice students into the rest of the Applied Linguistics Masters Program. The course is a core requirement for the ESL concentration and can be used towards certification.

APLING_603: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

This course is designed to provide you with a background in cultural politics; especially in multicultural theory and practice. We will be looking at four approaches to understanding culture:

1). the traditional sociological/anthropological definition based on systems of beliefs, language, group ethos, routine practices, and material artifacts;

2). culture as it is affected by unequal power relations, institutions, policies antagonistic intergroup social relations, and resistance;

3). intragroup cultural differences;

4). culture as it is produced by media and perception (i.e., representational politics).

We will analyze the educational ramifications of discriminatory social practices and structures—that is, the conflicts over language, representation, race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, modes of production, religion, youth, national identity, etc. We are then better able through a critical pedagogy to examine cross-cultural communicative behaviors and the impact these behaviors may have on “success” in educational and other institutional contexts.

APLING_670: Testing in the Bilingual/ESL/ELL Classroom

Course Description: This course surveys assessment of non-English and limited English proficient students in the context of ESL/Bilingual classrooms. A major focus will be to examine new implications in accountability systems for language minority students due to the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The major units of the course include testing concepts and testing characteristics (validity, reliability, norm and criterion-referenced testing); language concepts (proficiency; dominance); social policy concerns of testing and assessment; portfolio assessment; and statewide curricular frameworks and assessment programs. Students will also have opportunities to both critically examine assessment tools used in current practice and to apply their knowledge by designing their own tools. Particular emphasis placed on familiarity with WIDA levels and the ACCESS tests.

Course Objectives: Students completing this course will be:

  1. Familiar with past and current issues and instruments in language proficiency testing;
  2. Familiar with the major theoretical approaches to language assessment;
  3. Familiar with basic testing and measurement concepts and different types of assessments;
  4. Able to discuss the implementation, instructional/curriculum issues, and problems of language proficiency assessment
  5. Aware of fair testing practices in education;
  6. Familiar with policies and practices for the inclusion of limited English proficient students in statewide assessment
  7. Familiar with formal and informal methods of assessing oral language proficiency; guidelines for selecting and
  8. Familiar with characteristics of various types of formal and informal reading assessments and their advantages and in school/educational settings; programs.

SPRING 2014

APLING_601: Linguistics

APLING 601 has two primary goals:

  1. to introduce you to the basic linguistic concepts necessary for understanding how sounds, words, sentences, and texts are structured in English;
  2. to help you use these concepts to contrast the structure of English with the structure of other languages.

This is a course in language theory, not language pedagogy. Consequently, while this course will indirectly help you teach ESL/EFL, bilingual education, or foreign languages, it will not focus on direct applications of linguistics in the language classroom.

APLING_612: Integrating culture into the Language Curriculum

The course is designed for in-service and pre-service language teachers in foreign language education ESL, and bilingual studies. It addresses the unique and specific concerns of linguistic and cultural pluralism in the teaching of foreign languages. The objectives of the course are the following:

  1. To explore various definitions of culture and models of intercultural development and their teaching implications
  2. To become aware of how culture has traditionally been taught in most language classrooms and addressed in most textbooks
  3. To familiarize oneself with the Foreign Language Standards and their       emphasis on culture
  4. To deepen our understanding of the target language (C2) culture(s) we plan to teach
  5. To become aware of our own cultural beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors and of how they can influence and shape our teaching
  6. To explore how cultural values and systems may be embodied in a variety of authentic documents
  7. To become aware of potential cultural conflicts between our own culture and the culture we teach or our students’ culture
  8. To develop instructional units and activities that adequately reflect and represent multicultural diversity and help our students discover and resolve cultural conflicts

APLING_678: Technology in the Language Classroom

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course will focus on the use of technology for the management of learning in a language classroom as well as the possibilities and challenges of technology integration in language education. The approach will be both theoretical and practical:

Theoretical readings will come from two course textbooks, articles accessed via the Healey Library electronic reserves, and from peer-reviewed online open access journals. In addition, students will explore wikis and other sites relevant to teaching language using technology, especially Web 2.0 tools. Students will apply this knowledge in a final essay that will synthesize course work.

Students will gain practical experience with the tools and pedagogy they are reading about by developing assignments and a final project related to their curriculum that they can implement in the coming academic year.

COURSE ACHIEVEMENT OBJECTIVES

Students’ coursework will demonstrate:

 a critical evaluation of the use of technology in education, in particular in the language

classroom.

 the ability to assess the usefulness of different technological tools according to current theories

of language acquisition and different contextual needs and goals.

 An increased personal computer literacy

Students will accomplish these objectives through individual and collaborative reading, writing, and discussing, as well as an individually chosen final project.

FALL 2014

APLING_611: Methods and Materials in Foreign Language Pedagogy

Course description and Objectives

This course provides students with an overview of approaches in foreign language instruction and of the theoretical notions underlying current trends in classroom practice. The main goal of the course is to make students aware of why they do what they do in a specific teaching context and lead them to make informed pedagogical choices. The courses objectives are:

Theoretical practical knowledge:

  • To understand both universal and individual factors and processes affecting language acquisition and to use the understanding in making teaching choices and decisions.
    • To become familiar with the main findings of Second Language Acquisition (SLA).
    • To relate methods and materials in FL education to current research and theory in SLA.

Practical knowledge:

  • To create new, specific course materials and develop techniques, strategies, and activities to enhance communication and students’ motivation based on one’s own teaching context.
  • To understand the National Foreign Language Standards and use them when designing instructional modules.

Reflective knowledge:

  • To become aware of one’s own routine decisions, attitudes, and assumptions about learning and teaching.
  • To question and reconsider previous assumptions in order to develop reflective postures aimed at re-inventing our own teaching practice.
  • To develop abilities to view FL practices, approaches, and methods in a critical way.

 APLING_623: Sociolinguistics

Description

This course will focus on the study of language variation and its social, political and cultural significance. Students evaluate current sociolinguistic theory and research in sociolinguistics. Topics include language attitudes, language identity, societal and individual bilingualism, language policy, Black English Vernacular (BEV)/Ebonics, creoles/pidgins, and language variations by SES, ethnicity, and gender.

Objectives

Course readings, assignments, class discussions, and research experiences are designed to assist you to:

  • Understand to role of language in society and how society also impacts language use.
  • Critically review and analyze sociolinguistic studies designed to illuminate the role of language in social stratification.
  • Be equipped with sociolinguistic knowledge and skills to discuss language variation along the lines of gender, ethnicity, culture, and class.
  • Develop critical skills in applying theoretical sociolinguistics principles to ESL/EFL and bilingual education theories.
  • Use the acquired sociolinguistic knowledge for development of more efficient language classrooms for culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.

APLING_637: Ethnography of Education

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course addresses the how and why of ethnographic inquiry. It introduces students to ethnographic approaches and methodologies, and, more importantly, to the kinds of questions ethnographers ask. A key emphasis is on demystifying the field of research and applying ethnographic methods and techniques suitable for the study of culture, language, and schooling. Students read and critically assess a variety of ethnographic research studies that address issues of class, ethnicity/race, culture, language, and learning. Students will also implement anthropological and sociological approaches and insights in planning for and conducting ethnographic observations and interviews. As a final assignment, students will be required to write a project proposal proposing to study an issue related to ethnicity/race, culture, language, and education.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Course readings, assignments, class discussions, and research experiences are designed to assist you to:

  1. Understand the theoretical orientations in anthropology and sociology that gave rise to ethnographic research.
  2. Understand the kinds of questions which have been and can be addressed fruitfully through ethnographic research.
  3. Understand the place of ethnography in educational, language, and literacy research.
  4. Learn about the data collection methods of ethnographic research.
  5. Learn about ways ethnographic data can be analyzed.
  6. Write a research proposal proposing to student an issue related language, culture,

and/or education.

  1. Practice the use of ethnographic techniques and the analysis of ethnographic data.
  2. Learn about ways ethnographic data can be written up and used.
  3. Identify possible instructional or policy implications of ethnographic research for

culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.

SPRING 2015

APLING_621: Psycholinguistics

Course Description:

This course introduces students to contemporary issues and theories of language development. Students will compare various perspectives on first and second language acquisition/learning. They will examine various types of analyses and research methods, and will consider possible applications of theory and research into teaching.

Course Goals:

  1. To become familiar with research findings on first language and second language acquisition (staged development; cross-linguistic influences, etc.)
  2. To examine various theories that have attempted to explain the complex processes involved in learning a first language and/or a second language;
  3. To explain the role each theory assigns to the following factors in the language acquisition process: input, learner, environment, cognitive development, teaching/learning, innate knowledge; interaction; cross-linguistic influences; consciousness, etc.
  4. To investigate some of the factors that explain differential success in second language acquisition.
  5. To frame new questions in light of current research

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. identify major issues in current SLA research and theory
  2. discuss problems and challenges in current research and theory
  3. describe how the field developed historically, including major trends in research/theories, major figures)
  4. summarize the important studies and basic ideas of research studies
  5. formulate questions about aspects of research articles and theories that they do not understand
  6. analyze second language learner data from several perspectives
  7. write coherent papers on the above topics using the conventions of the Applied Linguistics field
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