We are delighted to announce that two new professors will be joining the Center for Language Teaching Advancement to serve as core faculty in the Master of Arts in Foreign Language Teaching Program. Dr. Bruna Sommer-Farias and Dr. Frederick Poole both completed their doctoral studies this year and also bring many years of experience in language teaching, supervising language teachers, developing curricula and programs, researching various aspects of second language acquisition, and designing and teaching online courses.
The MAFLT Program, currently directed by Dr. Amanda Lanier, offers a rigorous curriculum grounded in applied linguistics designed for current and aspiring teachers of nearly 20 different additional languages. Given that all course offerings have been fully online and primarily asynchronous since the program’s inception in 2012, the MAFLT is uniquely positioned to respond to the educational challenges of our current socially-distanced world. With their solid balance of pedagogical skills in the online space, content-area knowledge, and solid commitment to developing language teachers, Dr. Sommer-Farias and Dr. Poole will strengthen the existing MAFLT curriculum and community and help us to evolve in the future.
Dr. Sommer-Farias came to the U.S. from her native Brazil to pursue her doctorate in the interdisciplinary Second Language Acquisition & Teaching program at the University of Arizona. While there, she contributed considerably to the program in Portuguese as a foreign language through designing courses, teacher training, and program evaluation. Her dissertation focuses on the ways that genre-based writing instruction in an additional language can also benefit writers in their first language. She has conducted research funded by CERCLL and other entities, and she has presented and published on these topics, with articles appearing in journals such as Written Communication and the Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLTCL). A Fulbright alumna who graduated summa cum laude from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, she has proficiency in Spanish and French as well as her native Portuguese. As she transitions to teaching FLT courses such as Methods, Language Concepts, and Foreign/Second Language Acquisition, she expects to continue her involvement in a large learner corpus collection project called MACAWS, a repository of resources for teaching literature and literacy in additional languages known as FLLITE, and her work with the American Association of Teachers of Portuguese (AOTP).
Dr. Poole also has an interdisciplinary educational background. He earned his doctorate in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences as well as a master’s degree in Second Language Teaching from Utah State University, and he double-majored in Spanish and Psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His dissertation and other recent research focus on the role of games in language learning, digital literacy, and collaborative reading, and he was honored as Student Researcher of the Year in his M.A. program and his PhD. program. Prior to grad school, he taught English as a Foreign Language for many years in China, Spain, and Chile, including a four-year stint as Director of Studies at a language school in China. In addition to teaching online courses in Games and Learning at Utah State, he has also taught several courses in Chinese as a foreign language and explored pedagogical innovations including writing a graded-reader series for L2 Chinese, using WeChat for language exchanges, using apps to enhance Chinese character learning, and even creating a 2D role-playing game for Chinese learners. He has published in peer-reviewed journals including Foreign Language Annals, Language Learning & Technology, and the Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association as well as publishing and presenting in venues for educational technology. Many of these resources are shared on his personal site at fredpoole.github.io.
As we go into the 2020-21 academic year, Dr. Sommer-Farias will be working remotely from Brazil and Dr. Poole will be working remotely from Utah. They will move to East Lansing as soon as the pandemic situation allows. Given that MAFLT students and alumni are spread across 40 U.S. states and a dozen countries, they will be right at “home” in our geographically-dispersed community!
Opportunities to meet our new faculty via Zoom and other platforms will be available as the beginning of the academic year approaches. Updates will be posted via the Latest Posts page on the MAFLT website, shared on the MAFLT Twitter and Facebook feeds, and sent to current students and alumni via email and Teams. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Sommer-Farias and Dr. Poole to MSU, CeLTA, and the MAFLT!