Category Archives: Teaching

Chatham’s Dynamic US Culture & Cinema Course

A large screen glows in the pitch-dark classroom. It is eerily quiet.

Someone yells, “Don’t go in there!”

Others frantically chime in.

I peek around the screen on my podium to see 23 transfixed students, wide-eyed and hands covering mouths.

On the screen, the ceiling explodes. An alien tumbles onto the floor as scientists and soldiers scream as they scramble for safety.

Screams ricochet in our room, followed by nervous laughter.

This is US Culture and Cinema, a 100-level culture-based course that students take to learn about American culture, values, traditions and so much more through the lens of top ten classic American films.

Pre-reading activities include summaries, background information handouts and short video clips.

For each film, post-reading entails heavy discussions and a set of carefully crafted handouts designed to get students to reflect and synthesize information they’ve learned. Each handout builds upon their understanding and skills, starting with formulating their opinion, close critical reading, and summary honing. Film synopses are gapfill with word banks, giving students a chance to understand the story while they learn practical academic and technical vocab. Another handout doles out juicy film trivia followed by lively discussions in which they justify their favorite items. Same for quotes and film excerpts—with these they explain the humor, or infer why the character says something, and they act out parts of scenes as intoned in the film. There is a vocab match with words, phrases, and idioms and images. The Best Summaries has them choose the best summary out of 5 or 6 similar film genre summaries, specific character names removed.

While they actively watch the film, they follow along while completing questions with multiple choice answers. Questions are kept as simple as possible to prevent students from missing important moments. Images of the main characters are shown on this handout, along with images and maps of ideas or places at the end. The While You Watch questions and answers are designed to help students follow along with ease an otherwise potentially confusing film.

Each week, I send short video clips related to the film, director, film theory, and technical elements such as angles & shots and sound used in the film for them to watch and take notes for discussion. They then discuss the ideas they found most interesting and explain why. Class participation is typically very lively.

I have 3 criteria for choosing films. It should reflect American culture, values, traditions, and/or social issues. The film should also be a little older so that there is less chance of students having seen it. And finally, it should be in the top 10 or 20 for its genre.

This semester we watched Kramer vs Kramer (Drama), Singin’ in the Rain (Musical), Rear Window (Thriller), The Shining (Horror), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Western), Aliens (Sci-fi/Action), Big (Comedy).

by: Sylvia Shipp, English Language Program Lecturer & Student Advisor

 

Fulbright US Student Program 2019-2020

The Fulbright 2019-20 US student program is open! Please see https://us.fulbrightonline.org/applicants/getting-started

Through this program, recent graduates can researchstudy or teach abroad.  There are over 2,200 awards available for 2019-20, an increased number of English Teaching Assistant (ETA) placements and an increase in Master’s degree program placements.

If you have graduated (undergraduate or graduate study), or will graduate by spring 2019, you can apply. To help you get started, please review the archived information sessions available at  https://us.fulbrightonline.org/applicants/information-sessions

Chatham’s on campus Fulbright application deadline is September 10, 2018.  Please see the below timeline and checklist for further information.

April 2018:

Online application opens.  View awards by clicking on specific countries at http://us.fulbrightonline.org/countries/regions

April-May 2018:

  • Thoroughly read Fulbright website
  • Review differences between ETA (English Teaching Assistant) grants and Research/Study grants
  • Research your country and Fulbright commission (either grant). Carefully consider the profile of countries. Keep up with current events in the country.
  • Research your topic if you are applying for a Research grant; discuss your research topic with your academic advisor and department for ideas and input.
  • Begin networking and start looking for affiliations (names and universities) if you are applying for a Research grant. Make initial outreach to university abroad.  If you are unsure about how to approach universities, request assistance from your academic advisor, department and/or Fulbright Program Advisors (FPAs)
  • Work on your language proficiency (register for summer classes and/or self-study)
  • Look for opportunities to strengthen your candidacy. Become a language partner for the English Language Program.
  • Be in touch with FPAs to schedule advising appointments.

Summer 2018

  • Update your CV/resume
  • Start drafting statements for application
  • Fill out your personal details on the application
  • Start looking for language reference writers; continue language study
  • Think about your recommenders and reach out to them.
  • Follow up contact with the university abroad as necessary, secure affiliation letter
  • Request university/college transcripts (unofficial is okay) from all schools attended in US and abroad
  • Share first drafts of your essays with FPAs by July 16 (or earlier)

 August 15, 2018, Deadline to share revised draft statements with FPAs /Fellowship committee for feedback before campus deadline

September 10, 2018, Campus Deadline.  You must submit final drafts of your statements at this time and list your recommenders, language, etc.

September 17-21, 2018 On campus interviews with Fellowship committee. (exact days/times TBD). Campus committee evaluation completed.  (FPAs upload form to Embark system).

Applicants will be able to make additional revisions to application post-interview.

October 9, 2018, 5 pm EST.  Online application system closes at 5:00 P.M. EST.

Late January 2019. Finalists announced.

March-May 2019. Fulbright winners announced by country.

If you are interested in applying for a Fulbright grant, and for support in the application process, please get in touch with Karin Chipman, kchipman@chatham.edu or Chris Musick, cmusick@chatham.edu.

Many Languages, One World

By Oksana Moroz, ELP Lecturer, Fulbright Recipient

Oksana Moroz and Linh Phung at the Second Language Research Forum, September 2016, Columbia University, New York
Oksana Moroz and Linh Phung at the Second Language Research Forum, September 2016, Columbia University, New York

Five languages plus one person equals the world of friendship and opportunities. This simple equation describes who I am and what I gained with the help of my language skills.  I believe that global citizenship and cultural understanding can be achieved with the help of languages. Being a teacher of English as an additional language myself, I strongly agree that languages are powerful tools in discovering the world around us and critically reflecting on the concepts whirling everywhere in the world.  My main goal as a language teacher is to produce responsible citizens, who are fully competent language users, critical thinkers, and social change agents.

My first English language textbook series that I really liked as a student was called Opportunities. Since that time, the word “opportunity” has been one of my favorite words in English because it succinctly describes how I feel about the English language and its global significance. During my undergraduate studies at university, I realized that I wanted to research English language teacher identity formation and gender’s influence on it. Since then, I have been trying to achieve needed competencies and skills in the sphere of teacher education. Working with people, tutoring kids in English, and volunteering are my favorite activities.

To summarize, I believe that the Ukrainian phrase “the more languages you know, the more times you are a person,” is vivid, self-explanatory wisdom that can be applied to any person in the world. My experience has proved that being multilingual is a way to achieve cross-cultural understanding, creativity, innovation, collaboration, teamwork, and critical consciousness. I would like to stress the role of the teacher in the process of acquiring global citizenship and cross-cultural understanding. Teacher’s linguistic and instructional skills and intercultural competence greatly matter, so that the glocal (global plus local) needs of the students are met.

What makes an effective teacher?

What makes an effective teacher?

By Linh Phung

English Language Program DirectorEnd-of-term June 2016

ELP teachers and students celebrating the success of summer 1

At the end of the first summer session, teachers in the English Language Program gathered to share their thoughts on English language teaching. One research-based finding from Alina’s presentation is that the “variable” that impacts students’ learning the most is the teacher in the classroom. Then what characteristics make an effective teacher? Does the teacher need to be a native speaker of the language that they are teaching? Marina’s presentation convincingly argues that the answer to this question is “no.” What makes teachers effective is not their nativeness. What is more important is their language expertise, professional training, and how they can create learning opportunities for students.  Rachel describes a lesson where she was in a “teaching grove.” In that lesson, her passion and energy merged with the students’ and brought them all to a state of “flow.” This is a psychological state when everyone is totally absorbed in what they are doing and greatly enjoy themselves. Brigette brings up the idea that extensive reading for pleasure may be a good way to engage students and even help them to experience “flow.” In addition, when students enjoy reading, they may seek more opportunities to do so on their own. What can be a better outcome than that? Clearly, there are certain characteristics that good teachers and good teaching should exhibit, but teaching cannot be done to a formula. Teachers need to continuously reflect on and examine their practices to understand how they affect students’ engagement and learning.