Faculty members in the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages at the University of Iowa have received a $90,000 grant from STARTALK, a unit of the federal National Security Language Initiative, for their program “Bridging the Gap through Standards and Technology: STARTALK for Teachers.” The program provides unique professional training for teachers of Russian as a foreign language in the United States.
This is the second grant received by this team—Irina Kostina, UI lecturer; Anna Kolesnikova, UI visiting professor; and Marina Kostina, CEO of Wired @ Heart—from STARTALK for the development of their teacher-preparation program.
The previous grant, in 2012, funded programming for teachers of Russian in high schools and colleges who face the challenge of teaching online and staying up-to-date on standards of teaching Russian as a foreign language in the U.S. and Russia.
The new grant allows the program to concentrate on the unique issues of teaching Russian to heritage learners, and to expand the previous training on technology and distance-learning environment. The main goals of the project are creation of curriculum for heritage learners based on the analysis of the methodological issues of teaching this contingent of student; training teachers on using educational technology for the development of learning objects for a virtual library; and developing understanding of teaching in distance-learning contexts and creating distance-learning materials for heritage learners.
The grantees wish to dedicate their work to the memory of Professor James Pusack, professor and chair of the Department of German at the University of Iowa. Pusack, who died in 2008, was an influential language pedagogue and a pioneer in computer-assisted instruction of second language acquisition.
The Department of Asian and Slavic Languages is part of the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
This announcement was originally posted on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences website.