The University of Iowa

Language Lessons Near and Far: Students and Teachers Adapting to a Changing World

Language Lessons Near and Far students and teachers adapt to a changing world with students with arms around each other

February 26, 2021 | 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Sponsored by University of Iowa ESL Programs & UI International Programs

The teaching and learning of languages and cultural competencies have always been of critical importance in order to equip ourselves and our students to move through and interact with the world in adaptive, meaningful ways. In this symposium, educational and exchange partners share how emerging and continuing challenges and opportunities have presented themselves and been met, especially at in a time of increasing societal focus on social and racial justice and growing chasms in geopolitical relationships.
 

Register here

Schedule

Session 1 | 3:30-4:30pm 

3:30-3:45 p.m.     Applying an Interdisciplinary Approach to Aid in Pedagogical Practices 

Presenter
Samantha Brown 

 

3:45-4:00pm    Trained Conversation Partners in the ESL Classroom: Facilitating Intercultural Dialogue 

Presenters

Amy Alice Chastain 
Benjamin Hassman, PhD 
Sonja Mayrhofer, PhD 
Melissa Meisterheim, PhD 

 

4:00-4:15 p.m.     ABLA Faculty Development Exchange 2019 Highlights 

Presenters
Paula Oliva 
Vivian Suárez

 

4:15-4:30 p.m.     Session 1 Q&A/Discussion 

 

Session 2 | 4:30-5:30pm  

4:30-4:45 p.m.     K-12 World Language Education and International Connections 

Presenter
Pamela Wesely, PhD 

 

4:45-5:00 p.m.     Student Needs and Pedagogical Preferences for Successful Online ESL Instruction​ 

Presenter
Jamie Hall 

 

5:00-5:15 p.m.     Thinking Outside the (Classroom) Box: Maintaining high levels of engagement in the virtual classroom 

Presenter
Sue Almén-Whittaker  

 

5:15-5:30 Session 2 Q&A/Discussion 

Presenters

Sue Almén-Whittaker

Sue Almén-Whittaker  

Sue Almén-Whittaker has worked at The University of Iowa for over 21 years. Most of that time has been spent teaching English as a Second Language. However, after completing a graduate certificate in Informatics with a focus on Instructional & Educational Technology in 2010 she worked for Information Technology Services for six years in their Teaching & Learning group specializing in portfolio software, digital media, and web conferencing technologies before returning to ESL in 2016. She is excited about the rapid growth in educational technology seen in the last several years and loves to hear about new technologies that you find helpful.   Sue-almen-whittaker@uiowa.edu 

 

Samantha Brown

Samantha Brown 

Samantha Brown has been a lecturer in the English as a Second Language department at the University of Iowa for the past 7 years and has had the opportunity to teach students of various English language abilities on a wide range of subjects.  Investigating innovative ways to improve her capacity to help students succeed in their use of the English language through interdisciplinary research is her passion. She also collaborates with her colleagues on a few committees, helping to improve the departments curriculum and testing procedures.   Samantha-a-brown@uiowa.edu 

 

Amy Alice Chastain

Amy Alice Chastain 

Amy Alice Chastain’s teaching and learning stems from these personal pursuits and ranges from France to China to the Middle East and covers the dominant cultures and languages in each as well with varying degrees of proficiency. Now an Associate Professor of Instruction and Outreach Coordinator in the University of Iowa’s ESL Programs, she is proud to bring her diverse experience from her most recent six academic years abroad, home again, though Iowa is quite far from her native Georgia.  Since 2012, Ms. Chastain has served in leadership in the Intercultural Communication Interest Section of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of other Languages) International Association, as Past President of MidAmerica TESOL, the regional affiliate for Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, and currently serves as Board President of CIVIC, the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities.  Amy-chastain@uiowa.edu 

 

Jamie Hall

Jamie Hall 

Jamie Hall earned her bachelor’s degrees in biology and Spanish at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She went on to earn her master’s degree in linguistics with a focus in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at the University of Iowa. Jamie has taught in the ESL Programs at the University of Iowa since graduating with her MA in 2011. She has taught a variety of courses in all of the programs the UI ESL Programs offers. She has also taught in the Intensive English Language Institute at Creighton University. Outside of the university setting, Jamie has tutored  adults and children in English and life skills.  Jamie-hall@uiowa.edu 

 

Ben Hassman

Benjamin Hassman, PhD 

Ben joined the Rhetoric Department as a lecturer in Fall 2015, and is Director of its Conversation Center. Directing the Conversation Center builds on his experience with peer-leadership programs like the Berwick Boys Foundation, formative time advocating for Service-learning at Onondaga Community College, and teaching for Gen-ed Rhetoric and the Rhetoric Minor, including Speaking Skills, Advanced Speaking Skills, and the Conversation Center’s own RHET 2090 Conversation Practicum. He wrote his PhD dissertation in Philosophy of Language on paradoxes and their implication for how we understand the relationship between our sentences and the world. His current interests include informal and intercultural communication especially as a lynchpin to learning.  Benjamin-hassman@uiowa.edu 

 

Sonja Mayrhofer

Sonja Mayrhofer, PhD 

Sonja Mayrhofer received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa’s English Department and is a Lecturer in the Rhetoric Department and Assistant Director of the Conversation Center. In the Rhetoric Department, her teaching explores many of her interests: the rhetoric of self-hood (both in advertising and memoirs), forensic rhetoric (how we use the past to make arguments), and intercultural experiences. She enjoys co-directing the Conversation Practicum and fostering intercultural empathy on campus.  Sonja-mayrhofer@uiowa.edu 

 

 Melissa Meisterheim

Melissa Meisterheim, PhD 

Melissa Meisterheim is the Director of ESL Programs at the University of Iowa.  She has taught English as a Second Language classes and is an adjunct lecturer for the Department of Linguistics. Melissa has served on the board of MIDTESOL, and has also presented at several conferences including TESOL International, MIDTESOL, and EnglishUSA.   Melissa-meisterheim@uiowa.edu 

 

Paula Oliva

Paula Oliva 

Paula Oliva holds a bachelor 's degree in English Language Teaching from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina. She has taught EFL to children, teenagers and adults in elementary, intermediate and advanced levels in face-to-face, online and hybrid courses for over 20 years. She is a teacher educator, mentor and material writer. She is currently an Academic Coordinator and the Access Microscholarship Program Coordinator at Alianza Cultural Uruguay Estados Unidos, in Montevideo, Uruguay. p_oliva@alianza.edu.uy 

 

Vivian Suarez

Vivian Suárez 

Vivian Suárez has been a teacher for 40 years. She holds TESOL and ESOL degrees from Trinity College, London. She was awarded the FCTBE from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and she has a postgraduate in Methodology from Oxford House. She was also published by TESOL IS in 2008. She became a Teacher Educator in 2005 and a Coordinator in 2007. She has presented in different conventions in Uruguay and South America. She's currently the Academic Coordinator and Coordinator In-Company at the Binational Center Alianza Pocitos-Punta Carretas in Montevideo-Uruguay.  vivian.suarez@alianza.edu.uy 

 

Pamela Wesely

Pamela Wesely, PhD 

Dr. Pamela M. (Pam) Wesely’s scholarship and teaching examines K-12 foreign/world language education in the United States. Building on eight years of work as a middle school French teacher and eleven years working in the experiential learning environment of Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota, she studies the attitudes, motivations, perceptions, and beliefs of stakeholders in K-12 foreign/world language education. Innovation is a key area of interest in her work, particularly pedagogical innovation that departs from the grammar-based curriculum, like content-based instruction, instruction focused on comprehensible input, social justice education, and technology integration in the language classroom. She is a co-author of Words and Actions: Teaching Language Through the Lens of Social Justice (ACTFL, 2018). Dr. Wesely is a past member of the ACTFL Board of Directors and is a Past President of the Iowa World Language Association (IWLA).  Pamela-Wesely@uiowa.edu