SLA Program Newsletter: Fall 2021

Headshot of Monika Chavez

SLA Director’s Message: Monika Chavez

Time flies (it’s the end of another semester!) and yet, some things seem to refuse to move forward, on, and out (I believe it’s safe to say we are all experiencing pandemic fatigue). But some changes are afoot, nevertheless.

The SLA Program has been able to welcome five new students: Emre (a former student of program alumna Isil Erduyan!), Martiniano, Mathilde, Lidia, and Patricia, who have agreed to tell us a little bit about themselves in this newsletter. As a group, they follow a variety of research interests in several different languages; come from a variety of national backgrounds; and bring to us unique experiences in education and life. But they – and all of us – are united by a commitment to language research and education and a desire to work together to develop new questions and try to answer some of them to some degree. A personal anecdote that some of you might be able to relate to goes like this: At a social event, I was asked the usual question of “What do you do?” When I said, I work in second language acquisition, the person asked for a closer description of what that is exactly. I tried to rephrase by answering that we inquire why, how, and under what circumstances people learn languages other than the ones they used in childhood. Thereupon followed the very fair and, it seemed, genuinely interested question, “So how do people learn second languages?” And all I could say was, “Well, we don’t really know.” I left the encounter with the distinct impression that my conversational partner thought I was being coy, overly modest, unresponsive, or un/funny. Alas, it was my honest, unvarnished, and un/learned opinion. Perhaps – with the help of all of you, established and beginning scholars, I (and you) won’t be left flailing for self-descriptions in the future. Continue reading Monika’s message.

headshot of Patricia Haberkorn

New SLA Student: Patricia Haberkorn

I joined the SLA program at UW Madison this fall after I completed my teacher training in southern Germany. Throughout my life, I have been fascinated by languages and cultures. During my undergraduate studies at Heidelberg University of Education, I spent a year in Connecticut and completed an internship in Medellín, Colombia. Afterwards, I pursued my graduate studies in education and taught German at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. Almost two years later, I am now happy to be back in the U.S. and excited to pursue my studies in SLA and German.

I enjoy being a teacher and learner at the same time and am happy to share my language and culture with others – inside and outside of the classroom, as I am also the current German graduate language program coordinator (GLPC) in the international learning community. As a GLPC, I organize activities and offer tutoring for undergraduate students living in the German Language Immersion House Stockwerk Deutsch.

In my free time, I love to go hiking, biking, and traveling. As a Lakeshore resident, my favorite place on campus is Lake Mendota’s Lakeshore Path – particularly in the early morning hours to watch the sunrise.

cyclists on a dirt path with fall colors
Headshot of Martiniano Etchart

New SLA Student: Martiniano Etchart

I decided to continue with my academic journey at UW-Madison after obtaining my master’s degree from Michigan State University. This first phase of the Ph.D. life has been, no doubt, difficult as any other process of adaptation. However, I was fortunate to feel a little lighter with the support received from different members of the SLA community, which continues to be one of the main reasons why I chose to join the program in Fall 2021.

Originally an English as a Foreign Language teacher in my home country, Argentina, a Fulbright FLTA grant was what took me to teach Spanish in the U.S. for the first time at University of Arkansas at Monticello. I continue to teach my native language and culture through the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at UW-Madison.

As an educational linguist, one of the primary goals I expect to achieve during my time in the SLA Ph.D. program is to develop a way in which I can connect my diverse professional experiences as well as the knowledge gained throughout all these years in academia. Thus, I intend to work toward narrowing the gap between research and teaching and obtain theory-based information to successfully incorporate it into language practice. Particularly, I am interested in the learning process(es) of bi/multilingual students, especially those coming from Hispanic communities, and the relationship that exist between psychological and social aspects to language learning and teaching, and how these are – or are not – addressed and incorporated in the curricula, as well as in teacher education/professionalization.

Headshot of Mathilde Garnier

New SLA Student: Mathilde Garnier

I joined the SLA program last August after receiving my master’s degree in French linguistics and second language acquisition and teaching. Before that, I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Université Paris XII in France.

Believe it or not, I had never thought that I would want to become a language teacher, but three years ago I had the opportunity to work as a Fulbright FLTA at Wesleyan University, Connecticut, and thanks to this experience I realized how much I loved teaching French. After that year in Connecticut, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in French linguistics and second language acquisition and teaching at the University of Arizona where I had the opportunity to teach French to elementary and intermediate level students. During my time at the U of A, I became interested in individual differences, differentiated instruction and assessments and specifically in students’ perceptions of alternative forms of assessments. I hope to deepen my knowledge of these areas through the doctoral program in Second Language Acquisition here at UW-Madison.

a lake view on a grey day

New SLA Student: Lidia Gault

I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Second Language Acquisition program. Teaching foreign languages has always been my passion. I first came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar and received my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. After graduation, I went back to Russia, where I owned and worked at a private language school. Once back in the U.S., I was an active participant of multicultural events at the University of Arkansas and a speaking partner for U of A students studying Russian. I am currently a Russian Flagship tutor at UW-Madison.

My main research areas include methodology of teaching Russian (either as a foreign or a heritage language), teaching listening, bilingualism, heritage language, and language attrition. My favorite things about Madison so far are sidewalks (I prefer walking), bike trails, and the lake. I am excited about exploring Wisconsin, and finally enjoying real winter with snow.

Headshot of Emre Murat Bozer

New SLA Student: Emre Murat Bozer

Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, I received my BA and MA in Foreign Language Education from Boğaziçi University. Before joining the SLA program, I worked at a kindergarten and an international high school as an English Teacher. I have joined the SLA program this semester as a Fulbright scholar.

My research interests lie in the area of multilingualism, particularly with a focus on linguistic identity construction in multilingual contexts. I am an English, Japanese, and Turkish speaker, and I teach First Semester Japanese in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. I played ultimate frisbee at a competitive level throughout my college years, and I have recently joined the men’s team, The Fauxdags, at UW-Madison.