Learning Outcome 5

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Demonstrated ability to interact with Christian views of language learners and the nature of language.


Description

A Christian Perspective of Language and Language Learning was created for TESL 580: TESOL Portfolio, taken in the Spring 2019 term with Dr. Tasha Bleistein. It utilizes forum posts written for TESL 505: Second-language Acquisition, taken in the Fall 2017 term with Dr. Rich Robison. This document focuses on how spirituality, faith, and a Christian worldview intersect with language and language teaching.

Reflection

During this entire MA program, I have been challenged to consider the ways that my faith should affect my approach to language teaching. I have come to the realization that in my previous teaching, I was guilty of keeping spirituality separate from the classroom and had failed to acknowledge the spiritual nature of language learners and of language itself. The Robison (2011) article opened my eyes to the deeply spiritual nature of language as part of the Imago Dei bestowed on humans at creation and present from eternity in God himself. My unconscious assumption that faith doesn’t have a legitimate place in the secular language classroom–beyond helping me to be a better teacher–were profoundly challenged by the Smith (2008) reading. I have grown to understand that if spiritual beliefs are important to my students, I can and should provide a way for them to express these beliefs in the language I am teaching them.

Application

I will treat all languages with the honor and respect they deserve as part of God’s own image and one of his most meaningful gifts to humankind. I will welcome discussions of faith and spirituality in my future teaching, rather than shying away from them. I will remember that my students are spiritual beings, not machines of cognitive learning processes, and that the spiritual can and should intersect with classroom learning. Specifically, I will consider how to bring topics like forgiveness, death, suffering, and prayer into class content in ways that are appropriate, meaningful, and relevant for my students. As one means to this end, I plan to use relatable, true life stories (Smith, 2008) to facilitate discussions of moral and spiritual topics.


Robison, R. (2011). Language from a Christian perspective reconsidered. Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages, 12, 10-28.

Smith, D. I. (2009). On viewing learners as spiritual beings: Implications for language educators. CELEA News, 1(1), 5-11.