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Archived Content from Conference Held in May 2011 

Expanding Our Horizons

Featured Plenary

Educating the Future Foreign Language Professoriate
in 2011 and Beyond: Challenges and Opportunities



Over the past two decades, numerous calls for change have been made regarding the undergraduate foreign language (FL) curriculum in U.S. institutions of higher education. Most recently, the 2007 Modern Language Association Report, entitled Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World proposed reform aimed at creating “unified, four-year curricula that situate language study in cultural, historic, geographic, and cross-cultural frames; that systematically incorporate transcultural content and translingual reflection at every level; and that organize the major around explicit, principled educational goals and expected outcomes” (p. 5). However, implications of such calls for change for future professors' readiness to teach in a transformed curriculum are less readily apparent. Left unanswered are questions including: What pedagogical approaches are most appropriate to unify the study of language and content? What professional development activities and tools might best instantiate reforms such as those called for in the MLA Report? How feasible is it to transform the professional development experiences of teaching assistants (TAs) given the prevailing conditions and constraints under which FL departments in U.S. universities operate today?

This plenary presentation argues for the need to enact theoretically driven professional development of FL TAs to better reflect current calls for change in undergraduate education and the long-term nature of teacher development. We will briefly review research conducted on TA professional development in U.S. collegiate FL departments during the past two decades and identify recurrent preoccupations and recommendations in this body of work. Next, in light of ongoing challenges to carry out FL graduate education that takes into account both the short and long-term needs of graduate students as both teachers and scholars, we will illustrate how a pedagogy of multiliteracies (Kern, 2000; New London Group, 1996) can be used as an overarching concept to frame TA professional development. Examples will be drawn from an ongoing multi-site longitudinal study of TA professional development.


Kern, R. (2000). Literacy and language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

MLA Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Languages. (2007). Foreign language and higher education: New structures for a changed world. Retrieved May 28, 2008, from http://www.mla.org/pdf/forlang_news_pdf.pdf

New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social
futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66 (1), 60-92.

Heather Willis Allen Heather Willis Allen
Assistant Professor, University of Miami

Heather Willis Allen holds an M.A. in French Literature from the Louisiana State University (1998) and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies and French from Emory University (2002). Before her arrival at the University of Miami, she was Lecturer of French and French Language Program Coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh (2002-2006). Allen’s research interests include language-learning motivation, teacher development, and literacy-based approaches to teaching and learning. Publications that she has authored on teacher development and literacy-based teaching have appeared in the ADFL Bulletin (2010), the French Review (2009), the L2 Journal (2010), the Modern Language Journal (2010), the NECTFL Review (2008), as well as in From Thought to Action: Exploring Beliefs and Outcomes in the Foreign Language Program (2007), Principles and Practices of the Standards in College Foreign Language Education (2009) and Sociocultural Research on Second Language Teacher Education: Exploring the Complexities of Professional Development (2011). Her research on language-learning motivation has appeared in Foreign Language Annals (2003, 2010), the Journal of Studies in International Education (2010) and Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad (forthcoming). Allen’s book-length projects include the AAUSC 2011 volume Educating the Future Foreign Language Professoriate for the 21st Century (Heinle Cengage, 2011) co-edited with Hiram H. Maxim and Alliages culturels: La société française en transformation, a literacy-based introduction to French culture today textbook co-authored with Sébastien Dubreil (Heinle Cengage).

Photo of Beatrice DupuyBeatrice Dupuy
Associate Professor, University of Arizona

Beatrice Dupuy holds an M.A. in English from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), an M.S. in Education (TESOL) and a Ph.D. in Education (Language, Literacy and Learning) from the University of Southern California. She has taught English as a Foreign Language at the pre-collegiate level in France, and French and English as a Second Language at the post-secondary level in the U.S. In addition to French language, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in second language acquisition. She is currently Associate Professor of French and Foreign Language Education in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Arizona where she also directs the Introductory and Intermediate French language program. She is also a faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) in which she serves as Chair of the Pedagogy Curriculum Sub-committee. She is co-director of CERCLL (Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy), a Title VI Language Resource Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Her research focuses on foreign language teaching assistants’ professional growth in relation to teaching in an integrated multidisciplinary and multi-literacy curriculum and on experiential learning as a theoretical and practical framework for foreign language education in home and study-abroad contexts. Her research has appeared in Foreign Language Annals, the Canadian Modern Language Review, System, Applied Language Learning. She recently co-authored with Robert Ariew (University of Arizona) a first-year French textbook, Français Monde: Connectez-vous à la Francophonie (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2011).

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