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The Foreign Language Education program in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Delaware is set within the framework of a Departmental philosophy of teacher preparation and an overall University conceptual framework.
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The preparation of second language teachers involves the development of both second language and pedagogical knowledge and skills, a balance of theoretical training and clinical experience, and the nurturing of a reflective process that allows candidates to appreciate and understand the complex relationship between student and teacher. The elements of each of these three apparent dichotomies -- content area/pedagogy, theory/practice, and student/teacher -- are not diametrical, but rather are in each case the interweaving of parts of a whole. Candidates must experience, appreciate, and cultivate the interconnectedness of content area knowledge with pedagogical knowledge, of theory with practice, and of the role of the student with that of the teacher.
Your preparation to teach a second language entails the following:
Excellent content area and pedagogical preparation, along with an awareness of their interrelationship - A teacher is a scholar, possessing strong knowledge of the content area along with the pedagogical skills necessary to make that knowledge accessible to students in developmentally appropriate experiences. Your training comprises a well-rounded second language major program, including opportunity for study abroad, and thorough pedagogical preparation, including multiple clinical experiences. Excellent content knowledge is demanded of you in pedagogy courses. Assignments in methods courses, practica, and student teaching provide the framework within which you will reflect on the relationship between content and pedagogical challenges in the second language classroom and beyond.
A judicious balance of theoretical training and clinical experience and an understanding of their reciprocal influence - A teacher is a leader, possessing the capacity to play an important role in the decision-making processes that lead to school improvement and reform. Your methods courses will introduce you to the body of theory and research on language learning and assessment, providing a theoretical base that you will examine and apply in a progression of observations, practica, and clinical experiences. Reflecting on your experiences in discussions and written assignments, you will grapple with the interrelationships between theory and practice and develop the ability to engage in critical examination of educational practice, manifesting a commitment to ongoing professional development.
An appreciation of the interlocking roles of student and teacher, in the context of your own transition from student to second language teacher and professional - A teacher is a partner, committed to working with students, families, colleagues, and the community at large to create a productive, safe, and caring learning environment. Training in second language methodology, classroom management, developmental psychology, and student diversity and special needs is designed to prepare you to meet the challenges of establishing constructive relationships with your students. During your training, you are nurtured as a student by your instructors, but you are also treated like the professional you are becoming. University instructors, as well as the secondary teachers who work with you during clinical experiences, model professional behavior and attitudes, including expertise in the content area, problem-solving skills, and the ability to form partnerships that will respond effectively and equitably to the needs of all learners.
Second Language Education Programs at UD: