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Archived Content from Conference Held in May 2011 

Expanding Our Horizons

Featured Plenary

The Yin and Yang of Immersion Teacher Development


In Western cultures, the notion of "dualism" has traditionally espoused a doctrine that the universe is under the dominion of two opposing principles, e.g., good vs. evil, liberal vs. conservative. This notion persists as a "dominant frame of reference" (Del Collins, 2005). In contrast, Eastern philosophy adopts the concepts of yin and yang to describe how polar or potentially conflicting forces serve as complementary in the natural world. These forces are mutually exclusive yet interdependent; opposing, but not in opposition. Underlying the notion of yin and yang is the idea of balance, where two opposites co-exist in harmony and are able to transform one another.

In this plenary presentation we will use the concepts of yin and yang to illustrate the synergistic dynamics that have developed between language immersion teachers and teacher educators through professional collaboration. We will also explore the ways this collaboration has fostered movement away from dualistic conceptualizations of language acquisition (e.g., focus on form vs. focus on meaning) and language teacher education (e.g., theory vs. practice, language-driven vs. content-driven approaches) towards an understanding of how these contrasts best balance and complement one another to increase language acquisition and improve language teacher education. Finally, we will propose that sustained collaborative teacher development initiatives that bring together the expert voices of practicing teachers and language teacher educators create experiences and products where the sum is indeed greater than the parts. Like yin and yang these sometimes opposing energies are able to enrich and transform one another.


Del Collins, M. (2005). Transcending dualistic thinking in conflict resolution. Negotiation Journal, 21(2), 263-280.

Diane J. TedickDiane J. Tedick
Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN

Diane (Dee) Tedick is an Associate Professor in Second Languages and Cultures Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota. A teacher educator, Professor Tedick is involved in the preparation of preservice teachers and ongoing professional development of inservice teachers representing a variety of language teaching contexts: immersion and bilingual programs, world languages, and ESL. Her professional and research interests focus on the pedagogy required for successful integration of language and content instruction, student oral language proficiency development in immersion programs, and teacher development in relation to diverse student populations. Her edited, co-edited and co-authored volumes include Second Language Teacher Education: International Perspectives (2005, Lawrence Erlbaum); Pathways to Multilingualism: Evolving Perspectives on Immersion Education (2008, Multilingual Matters); Immersion Education: Practices, Policies, Possibilities (in press, Multilingual Matters); and Teaching Foreign Languages: Content-Based Instruction for Social Justice (forthcoming, Routledge/Taylor Francis).

Tara Williams FortuneTara Williams Fortune
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN

Tara Williams Fortune is an Immersion Teaching Specialist and Coordinator of the Immersion Research and Professional Development Project at the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota. She is founding editor of The American Council on Immersion Education (ACIE) Newsletter, a publication written for and by immersion practitioners that is currently in its 14th year of dissemination. Her professional and research interests include struggling immersion learners, K-8 oral proficiency development of immersion students, and language and literacy development in early total Chinese immersion programs. In collaboration with Diane Tedick, she has edited two research volumes on immersion education published by Multilingual Matters: Pathways to Multilingualism: Evolving Perspectives on Immersion Education (2008) and Immersion Education: Practices, Policies, Possibilities (forthcoming). She also authored Struggling Learners and Language Immersion Education (2010) with Mandy Menke and contributions from immersion educators and specialists from around the U.S.





Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414