Language Matters

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Language Matters: A Professional Development Series

Language Matters is a series of presentations and discussions on issues regarding second language teaching and learning. The goal of Language Matters is for faculty, staff, and students to share their experiences, expertise, and knowledge.

All faculty, staff, and students interested in language teaching and learning are welcome!

                                          Upcoming Presentations


                      The Sound and Story of Brazilian Portuguese

                                                        Dr. Sophia Beal, University of Minnesota

                                                                    Monday, September 26th

                                                                     St. Croix Room (321) UC

                                                                        3:30 – Refreshments

                                                                       4:00-5:00 Presentation

How did Portuguese become the 6th most spoken language in the world? How difficult is it to learn Portuguese if I already speak Spanish? What types of Brazilian music have enchanted listeners worldwide? This talk introduces Brazilian Portuguese, grounding it within the history and culture of not only Brazil, but the seven countries where Portuguese is the official language.

Sophia Beal is the author of Brazil under Construction: Fiction and Public Works (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and co-editor (along with Bruce Robbins and Michael Rubenstein) of Infrastructuralism, a special issue of Modern Fiction Studies published in 2015. Her articles related to Brazilian fiction and urbanism have appeared in the Luso-Brazilian Review, Romance Notes, Hispania, ellipsis, Brasil-Brazil, Estudos de Literatura Brasileira Contemporânea, Revista Escritos, and elsewhere. She earned her PhD in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies from Brown University and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Tulane University in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She teaches in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota.


Past Presentations

English Language Learning in Serbia Today

Presented by Dr. Nina Lazarevic Assistant Professor at the University of Nis, Serbia

Intercultural Competence in Communicative Competence

Presented by Dr. Nina Lazarevic Assistant Professor at the University of Nis, Serbia

Because the Twain must meet: Using Graphic Novels and Comics in the Second Language Literacy Classroom

Presented by Garret Quanat UWRF MA TESOL student

The Mexican Education System: Difference and similarities that impact immigrant students in the US

Presented by Alberto Fierro Garza the current Consul of Mexico in St. Paul, MN.

Helping Adult Learners Transition to "What's next"

Presented by Dr. Patsy Vinogradov, Director of ATLAS Hamline University, School of Education

Serving diverse English learners in K12 schools

Presented by Michael Bowlud, Minnesota Department of Education

ITAP Panel Discussion

Presented by Alex Hatheway, Jean P. Hsu, Andrew Nelson, Matt Gago, Olivia Wannarka and Alice Wedell.

Maximizing Professional Organization Benefits 

Have you considered a student membership into TESOL? Have you heard of WAIE or WITESOL?  Topics include optimizing website information, accessing grants and awards, engaging in interest sections, doing board and committee work, and taking advantage of student opportunities and "newcomer" benefits.

Presented by Rhonda Petree and Conan Kmiecik.

Past Events


Turkish Educational Systems and Teaching in Turkey 

Istanbul, traditionally known as where East meets West, has been the seat of three world empires and is the only city in the world lying on two continents. Delve deeper with current Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate student Garrett Quandt as he shares his experiences living and working in Turkey's most populous city.

From Hands up to What's up: Teaching English in China is more than an experience  

Before China's reforming and opening up in 1978, English was seldom seen in schools and only phrases such as "Hands up!" were taught to soldiers for use in wars or phrases such as "Long live Chairman Mao" for propaganda purposes. However, China has made English education a priority, which has been overwhelmingly welcomed by people from all walks of life. Presented by May Tao, Visiting staff of Global Connection

Blend it! Flip it! Transform Teaching, Improve the Learning Environment    

Blended and flipped learning are not just buzzwords, they are ways to expand programs and provide student support where needed. It is a pedagogical hop for language educators accustomed to students working in groups. Participants will identify techniques to move "fact learning" to independent study and application of learning to a supported guided environment. By combining blended learning and flipped lesson techniques, we have transformed the way we teach and how students learn. The presentation will include examples from Russian and Japanese ITV courses.    Presented by Magara Maeda and Lauren Rosen

Flipping the ESL Classroom: Incorporating Inverted Learning in an ESL Grammar Class  

This presentation illustrates how to incorporate a flipped classroom methodology in an intermediate ESL grammar class.  The presentation will include the benefits and the shortcomings of adopting this method for the ESL classroom. Presented by Amrit Bidegaray

Teachers Speak Up!   

Panel discussion organized by Dr. Doug Margolis, Assistant Professor, TESOL Program, UWRF What's the best way to learn a foreign language?  Should students be able to speak their first language in the language learning classroom?  Should oral errors be corrected? If so, when? How? How should culture be addressed?  What's the appropriate role of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary in language learning?    Panelist include Cecilia Bustamante, Diane Jacobson, Doug Margolis, Gretchen Toman and Magara Maeda.

English Learners in Elementary Schools 

Presented by Dr. Amy Frederick, Assistant Professor, Literacy Education, Teacher Education, UWRF Children who come to school with a home language other than English face twice the challenge: learning English and learning academic content. It can take many years for bilingual children to "catch up" to their English speaking peers.

Hacking the Language Classroom: e-Ideas, -Activities, and -Resources

What are some ways of infusing fresh material into the language classroom?  The life hack is a genre of writing on the Internet that provides tips and shortcuts for becoming more productive or efficient in life. During the presentation, the presenters will share 5 hacks for the language classroom.  

Presenters: Alex Hatheway and Conan Kmiecik.    

Education in Gaza 

Fatma Aljarrah is from Gaza, Palestine. This presentation will provide background information about Gaza regarding the history, geography, politics, and religion, but most importantly, this presentation will provide information about the educational system, focusing specifically on English language teaching and learning. 

During the presentation Ms. Aljarrah will discuss the challenges that English language teachers encounter as well as possible solutions to overcome some of the hurdles. Pictures and videos will be used to let people know more.

Bio: Ms. Fatma A. Aljarrah is a Fulbright Scholar from Gaza-Palestine. She is in the TESOL MA Program at UWRF. She is a practicing English language teacher in Gaza, as well as a TV presenter.                         




What Can Linguistics Learn from Biology? Three Arguments in Favor of a Consistent Theory of Part-of-Speech Subclassification
Presented by Dr. Vladimir Pavlov

Using Dynamic Written Corrective Feedback to Develop ESL Learners' Linguistic Accuracy
Presented by Charlie Lavin, ESL Instructor  Charlie Lavin's Plan B Paper can be found at

Academic Posters for Newbies: A Step-by-step Walkthrough Using PowerPoint

Presented by Conan Kmiecik, UW-River Falls Associate Lecturer and ESL and Cultural Summer Program Coordinator for the ELT Program

The 21st Century Classroom: Communication, Collaboration, Assessment & Technology
Presented by Magara Maeda, UW-River Falls Instructor of Japanese

The TESOL Program's Taiwan Teach Abroad Program (TTAP)
Presentated by TTAP Coordinator Doug Margolis and TTAP Participants Diane Jacboson, Helen Watts, and Mai Moua

Academic Success and International Students at UWRF
Presented by Rhonda Petree, UW-River Falls Director, ELT Program and Associate Lecturer, and Charlie Lavin, UW-River Falls ESL Instructor.
Power Point Presentation


Co-Teaching to Meet the Needs of English Learners
Presented by Diane Jacobson, UW-River Falls ELT Associate Lecturer

Lexicology: A Missing Link in Language Teacher Training
Presented by Dr. Vladimir Pavlov, UW-River Falls TESOL Associate Professor

Teaching English Abroad Panel Discussion
Presented by Rhonda Petree, UW-River Falls Director, ELT Program and Associate Lecturer; Charlie Lavin, UW-River Falls ESL Instructor; Justin Otto, ELT Program Graduate Assistant; and Mary Zoubek, ELT Program Graduate Assistant

Technology In The Classroom: Best Practices and Realistic Approaches
Presented by Anne Edvenson, Minnesota English Language Program ESL Instructor, U of M-Twin Cities

Error Correction in the Language Learning Classroom
Presented by Doug Margolis, UW-River Falls TESOL Visiting Professor

Lesson Planning: Warm-ups and Wrap-downs
Presented by Rhonda Petree, UW-River Falls Director, ELT Program and Associate Lecturer


Rhonda Petree
231 Kleinpell Fine Arts

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